After the visit to the museum, I felt the urge to walk in the wilderness. I had in store an early wake-up call, so early I was the first one active in the house and still the only one awake when I left. My destination was the Petite Camargue Alsacienne, a wetland area I introduced you last winter. Located on the side of the Rhine, it is fed by the river’s water but also by some subterranean resurgences. I was there at sunrise, but there was no sun in the sky, only large and threatening clouds that soon brought light rain. I was adequately equipped, and it didn’t spoil my fun.
The first star of the day was the Great egret (Ardea alba). This pristine heron, yellow-beaked in winter, is a wonder to watch, especially in such a dark morning. I saw it fish in a pond, tracing its path of bubble in the murky waters before striking. The catch was succcessful once, but it was an ordeal to place the fish in the right direction, not perpendicular to the beak but facing the throat.
Ducks and swans populated the water bodies, and in the woods I saw plenty of perch birds, such as my friend the European robin (Erithacus rubecula) or the Song thrushes (Turdus philomelos). From the edge of a field, I heard a Common snipe (Gallinago gallinago) pass overhead. This bird’s bill is incredibly long, and it’s a good tool for identification.
The second star of this morning was the Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). I startled the first one while walking, and I saw it escape from the woods and dart away from me, flying above the path. I guess there was a creek hidden under the trees, otherwise I really wonder what it was doing there. Then I saw one from a bird tower, perched first in front of the trees and after that on a dead branch. The last sighting was offered not by one but by two of these restless fishermen. One was chasing the other, was it a territory dispute?
In a ditch, I glimpsed two Water rails (Rallus aquaticus) casually strolling along the stream. Another good catch was the Little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) I spotted in a small pool, early in the morning. I was in a hurry when I saw this family of Mute swans (Cygnus olor) feeding in a puddle covered in duckweed. I had no time for an elaborate shooting, but I’m still happy with that frame.
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