26 October 2017 Although the season of counts at this Pyrenean migration watchpoint is not yet over – it runs to the middle of November – it is clear that for several species it has been an outstanding autumn.
For instance, over 15,500 Honey Buzzards have been seen passing south, the fifth highest total in 39 years of counting.
I experienced something similar myself on 2nd August at the Col du Soulor, further east, when nearly 6500 Black Kites passed through once the skies had cleared after several days of frustratingly low cloud and no birds at all.
But definitely worth the wait, for me if not for the birds themselves.
Adverse publicity, some real action by the authorities, some exemplary fines, and the strictures of the new environment minister, have all also played a part.
But the LPO will be checking on the ground in 2018, just to be sure.
In Number 24-2, the main item is the third update to the 'Nouvel inventaire des oiseaux de France' (NIOF, published in 2008), adding new information about a large range of species, with references to sources given for those who wish to enquire further.
A summary of the previous update can be found here.
The LPO's press release, in French, can be seen here.
It appears that these trappers, all fairly elderly, really don't have much else to do with their spare time, although that did not seem to cut much ice with the legal authorities.
These figures are of added interest knowing that this year a pair bred successfully in the UK for the first time, on the Somerset Levels.
Likewise, the recent Cattle Egret influx to the UK is no doubt linked to the steady increase in France since a cold winter in 2012 knocked numbers back quite severely.
October is the peak time for Red Kites, with 1940 counted on 7th, the highest daily total since records started.