La Crau

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La Crau
Peau de Meau nature reserve

Peau de Meau nature reserve

Superb birding location lying about 5 km southwest of St-Martin-de-Crau. Just south of the hamlet of La Dynamite is the lake Etang des Aulnes and the Peau de Meau nature reserve. A permit is available from the Ecomusée de la Crau in Saint Martin-de-Crau.

Birds;-Pin-tailed Sandgrouse,Little bustard, Stone curlew, Ortolan Bunting, Crested Lark,Red-backed and a Southern Grey Shrike, European roller, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark, Black kite, Hoopoe, Little Owl, Lesser Kestrel

The 2 hour 5km (flat) circular walking route circumnavigates the Peau de Meau sheep barn and follows the 'Draille des Troupeaux' an old Roman road between Arles and Istres. The Crau is a fossil delta of the Durance river which once stretched between Eyguieres and the Camargue. Two million years ago, stones from the Alps were deposited here, but the course of the river changed leaving a vast stony plain.Water is virtually non-existant with an annual rainfall of less than 60 cm and in Summer The Crau can be a very hostile environment. Most birders choose the winter months and early spring.
There are around 300 species of beetles, 328 species of butterfly, 40 grasshoppers including the endemic Crau grasshopper, the large (up to 75 cm) Ocelated Lizard and the Montpellier snake.

Spring

Little Bustard calling males are easier to both see and hear.Stone Curlew arrives back from African wintering grounds as early as February, Hoopoe, Tawny pipit and Short-toed lark all evident.

Summer

Several pairs of Pin-tailed Sandgrouse nest around the barn, very difficult to see they are best loked for either early in the morning or evening as the fly to their watering holes.Black Kite and Lesser Kestrel.Scops Owl

Autumn

Migrating Dotterel, Montagu's Harrier

Winter

Wintering White Stork, red Kite, Corn bunting and mixed finch flocks

The Birder's Market | Resource | Birding locations | Birding sites Europe | France |  La Crau

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