Birds Of Jura Mountains / Tour Report May 2019
We started our wildlife tour with quite some uncertainties to say the least. In the areas we planned to explore along the way, the year started very badly for the little mountain owls, which are the Tengmalm Owl and the Eurasian Pygmy-owl. Our guide Emilien spent several days exploring every corner, looking at every tree, in order to find occupied cavities or any other sign of presence. The results of his quest were unfortunately very meager. The population of these two mythical birds of Jura can vary enormously from one year to the next. On top of that, the weather forecast was quite catastrophic, with almost continuous rain over the 3 days.
Despite this, we welcomed our 6 participants with confidence and enthusiasm!
The first day we started to explore a beautiful forest where we were able to witness an exceptional show: a male Black Woodpecker feeding its chicks. The Black Woodpecker, like many other birds in Jura, is a very sensitive species. So we took every precaution to observe these beautiful birds without disturbing them. Keeping our distance, sitting on the ground without moving and without speaking, we had the chance to observe their natural behavior, with an extraordinary feeding scene.
Other beautiful species were present in this forest, including the Eurasian Treecreeper.
The trip began in the most beautiful way, which made our lucky participants very happy.
We then headed to another area hoping to observe the little owls, but unfortunately without success. The day ended with an excellent dinner at the restaurant from where we could observe a beautiful Roe deer.
Rise before dawn for this second day. The main objective of the day was to get a chance to observe an Eurasian Pygmy-owl, knowing that our chances of seeing a Tengmalm Owl were extremely low this year. During this beautiful walk in a stunning preserved forest, we were able to observe many species of passerines: Song Thrush, Ring Ouzel, Eurasian Bullfinch, Red Crossbill, etc.
And after 4 hours walking in this forest, we experienced a magical scene with an adult Eurasian Pygmy-owl. 10 minutes of pure happiness. A true gift of nature for our participants who have all been able to make exceptional images.
While heading to another part of the same forest, we had the unique chance of finding a Western Capercaillie. A male, parading in a conifer on the edge of the road. To see a wild Western Capercaillie in the Jura is an extraordinary chance. The most favorable areas and the leks are all protected and forbidden to the public. Which is a very good thing, because the species is in great difficulty, very fragile and very sensitive. The only way to see and photograph this mythical bird is to find a “coq fou” like we did.
This exceptional morning ended with a delicious picnic in the sun. We headed to another area to discover a completely different type of habitat. Very nice sightings delighted our participants, including a very rare Lesser Redpoll, and several species of butterflies, some being rare and protected.
We then headed to our accommodation where everyone enjoyed a pleasant free time before going to dinner at the same restaurant.
For this last day, we adapted the program again and decided to explore again the same forest as the day before. This time we really did not have much luck. In nature, every single day is different.
We ended this wonderful wildlife photo tour around a last picnic. The Tengmalm Owl is the only one we would not have seen. Apart from it, we were able to observe all the emblematic birds of the Jura mountains, with a total of 60 species over 3 days. And without the slightest drop of rain: D So our participants were more than pleased when we left in the middle of the afternoon.
Guide Salva Fauna