August 2010 High Summer

August 2010 High Summer
August 2010 High Summer

The high season – and the serious walkers have largely been replaced by tourists trying to get to Tour Madeloc. Often without maps, water, hats or boots, they need help to find their cars once more!
In between our own visitors, two bedrooms have been completed upstairs, once again simple whitewashed rooms with stained floors and beams, and amazing views. We have begun to stay up overnight more regularly, including watching the fireworks in Collioure from our vantage point high above the town. The coastal lights, the sunrises and sunsets, the moon and stars and the almost total silence are unforgettable. Our feelings of triumph at completing the solar electric installation proved a little premature however, since thieves have taken what they could – a reminder to us that we need to prioritise security on such an isolated site.

WILDLIFE
Good butterflies continue – and from the middle of the month the return bird migration got started. Around the house there have been good numbers of greenfinch, black redstart and woodchat shrike, while bee-eaters have been passing all day towards the end of the month, usually in groups of a dozen or so. Warblers continue to torment us by appearing from the scrub just long enough for you to find your binoculars. The noisy reception given by our resident kestrels to any incoming birds of prey have alerted us to passing peregrine falcons, short toed eagles, an immature golden eagle and honey buzzards (up to ten at once) and others that we cannot yet identify with confidence. Over the past three months our skills in identifying birds of prey have advanced no end.
The salt lakes up the coast are also proving productive this year, with several hundred flamingoes, marsh harrier and many waders (including a reported 100 avocets.) Slowly we are getting to know the best sites.