Julian Sykes Wildlife Holidays

Camargue By Train

December is an excellent time to visit this area of Southern France with some excellent resident and scarce wintering species. A chance to recharge birding batteries with this intensive short trip to take in one of the best areas for birdwatching on the Mediterranean Sea coast. The Camargue needs no real introduction as it has been visited by travelling naturalists for many years and is still extremely popular with it's mosaic of freshwater lagoons, reedbeds and rocky coastline.Although this is classed as a Carmargue holiday we will also be visiting several places just inland such as the incredibly scenic Alpilles, an area of vineyards and foothills of limestone crags. Here we will visit he mountain enclave of Les Baux with it's picturesque cliff top fort and historic village.

Day 1:- Taking the train is easily the most civilised and stress-free way to reach France. We shall hop on Eurostar from London St Pancras to Lille then, with the ease of just swapping platforms, take a 186mph TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse or High Speed Train) to Nîmes, through the countryside, including the Rhone valley, with a glass of vin rouge in hand... or bring your own bottle of wine for the journey if you like as there are no rules against that.

Glossy IbisDays 2-5:- During the next four days we will drive the extensive coastal lakes and pools of this region where we will find a range of wetland species and such as Black necked Grebes, Great White & Cattle Egrets, Common Crane, Glossy Ibis, large numbers of wintering wildfowl, Penduline & Bearded Tits. We will also explore the saltpans at the mouth of the Rhone where among other waders - Avocet and Kentish Plover are usually present, Greater Flamingo are numerous, and Slender-billed Gulls are also a possibility. ll the time we will be looking out for wintering birds of prey, with key target species being Greater Spotted Eagle and Long legged Buzzard, which annually reside here until the Spring migration. However this massive area of rich habitat can also hold a wide range of other raptors possibly including Marsh & Hen Harriers, Common Buzzard, Merlin and Peregrine.

La Craux is an area of psuedo-steppe found just inland from the Camargue and a visit to the boulder-strewn fields can be productive with possibilities such as Little Bustard, Stone Curlew, Rock Bunting, Rock Sparrow and Crested Lark, if we are very lucky then we may also find a small flock of Pin-tailed Sandgrouse but sadly this species is declining in the region.

Slender-billed GullOne day we will go to the Alpilles, an area of vineyards and foothills of limestone crags. Here we will visit he mountain enclave of Les Baux with historic fort and village. Apart from being visually impressive it is also known for its wintering Wallcreepers on the sheer rock-faces and Alpine Accentors within the picturesque cliff top village. Weather and time permitting we will make the short journey to La Caume a local site for Bonelli’s Eagle and other commoner woodland species followed by a dusk visit to Destet for the nesting European Eagle Owls.

Depending on time and weather conditions we will travel further inland to the ski-resort at the top of Mont Ventoux to look for Citril Finch along with Golden Eagle, Sparrowhawk. Red billed Chough, Fieldfare, Nuthatch, and Common Crossbill.

Day 6:- We take the morning TGV journey back to Lille to catch the Eurostar back to London.

A one centre holiday, with the hotel having been selected for it's location to the main birdwatching sites & full en-suite facilities. The all meals will be of local good standard cuisine.

What's been said...

quoteThis is a new destination to our schedule but having visited this region on several occasions over the years, it is still one of Julian's favourite Winter short breaks. We especially like the idea of travelling overland to Southern France on the TGV, as this will be an adventure in itself. We hope to see you there quote1

Julian Sykes Wildlife Team


Cost £TBC
Based on sharing a twin/double room.

Single Supplement - £TBC
Deposit - £TBC
Maximum Group Size - 6

Price Includes:

  • Train to Southern France
  • 5 nights in en-suite accommodation
  • All meals iv. All transport costs
  • Potential trip list with daily check list.
  • Use of field guides covering the area

Price does not Include:

  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Travel & contents insurance
  • Items of personal nature
  • Tips/gratuities

Train Travel - Train travel possible

NB - We are currently not running this short break but if you have an interest in this then please CONTACT us to arrange a possible TAILOR-MADE trip.

(see icon guide)

Target Species:

  • Black necked Grebe
  • Balearic Shearwater
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Great White Egret
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Ferruginous Duck
  • Griffon Vulture
  • Long-legged Buzzard
  • Greater Spotted Eagle
  • Golden Eagle
  • Bonelli's Eagle
  • Hen Harrier
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Common Crane
  • Purple Gallinule
  • Little Bustard
  • Stone Curlew
  • Slender-billed Gull
  • Western Yellow-legged Gull
  • Pin-tailed Sandgrouse
  • European Eagle Owl
  • Alpine Accentor
  • Penduline Tit
  • Bearded Tit
  • Rock Sparrow
  • Crossbill
  • Citril Finch
  • Cirl Bunting
  • Rock Bunting

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