Ramblin'  On with Pat Middleton Birding in the Camargue
by Pat Middleton

Part 4 of 5, ©
Author, Pat Middleton continues her journey to find great waterway cruises for greatriver.com travelers!

The Rhone River Delta
The Camargue
Lausanne, Switzerland

The Camargue
Les Gardians


Map of the Rhone River Delta







The Camargue is the only location in Europe where pink flamingos may be found year around. The pink legs indicate a mature adult.

Finally, there are the birds. Our favorite birding excursion was to the Parc Ornithologic, a private endeavor of citizen M. Lamoroux. 

The Parc is certified as a privately funded raptor rehab center so there are a number of raptors and protected species that may not be be easily seen in the wild. 

M. Lamoroux has developed extensive interpretive displays, including one that explains the flamingo’s upside down beak, which allows it to filter feed even when water is very shallow. Another explains its leg structure…the flamingo actually walks on it’s toes, its " backward knee" is really the ankle and the real knee is hidden inside its body. 

We especially enjoyed seeing rare European chimney storks and spoon-billed ibis who, though entirely wild, chose to build their nests on top of cages of injured birds. The storks have no voice, thus clack their beaks to communicate. 

Developed trails and overlooks which loop throughout the marsh provide outstanding opportunities to for over 120,000 visitors per year to discover lizards, nutria (controlled by heavy winter kills), reptiles and  4-500 species of birds.  The odor of rotting vegetation wafts through the swamp--it smells a lot like rotting eggs!

STEAMBOATIN' in the Camargue

River buffs will enjoy a cruise on the KON TIKI. It claims to be the last authentic sternwheeler in France and provides an excellent opportunity to cruise the quite water of the Petit Rhone. Board the boat at the marina near Stes Maries de la Mer, right where the Petit Rhone empties into the sea. It was disconcerting to board a familiar looking steamboat in the great swells of the ocean! We saw bulls and horses, waterfowl, guardians as we left the ocean and paddled smoothly upriver at about 6 km/hour. Look for the tamarisk, a type of tamarack tree that looses its needles.

Continue, Conclusion and Travel Info for the Camargue/Provence Region of S. France
Part 5 of 5


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