As usual, because I was on holiday with my partner Chris who is not mad keen on birds, this wasn't a birding holiday, but I was as always on the lookout for whatever I might see. We travelled to Nice by train from London St Pancras, changing in Paris from the Eurostar to a high-speed TGV. It was so speedy that although I was hoping I might spot a few birds from it, all but the largest were an unidentifiable blur! However the largest included a Great White Egret and loads of Black Kites including one flock of at least 20 or so which was an impressive sight, and especially exciting being a life tick for me :o) As soon as we arrived in Nice, Swifts were all around. All the old buildings in Nice evidently provide perfect breeding habitat for them:
|Lots of lovely rooftops for Swifts.|
|Breakfast & Swift-watching spot.|
|Keeping an eye on the fish!|
|The Paillon River.|
One bird I'd read that you could see in Nice was White-throated Munia/Indian Silverbill, of which there is a small feral self-sustaining population that has become established from escapees. Most of what I'd read seemed to suggest that they mainly were found around the airport so I didn't think we'd see any, however as we approached the river I heard an unfamiliar 'peep', looked up and there was one sitting in a tree a few metres away, hurrah!
|Not a very good photo of a White-throated Munia!|
|Roman ruins where we saw a Serin in Cimiez Park.|
|Cimiez Park, did feel a bit like the gardens that Diana Rigg perpetually mooches around in Game of Thrones.|
From the beach we could see lots of terns sitting on a concrete structure in the sea, however I couldn't really get my binoculars out what with all the sunbathers around! We went back later when it was colder though and they looked to be all Common and Sandwich Terns.
|Not the best place to whip out your binoculars!|
|Common and Sandwich Terns.|
We also saw a couple of Black Kites soaring right over the centre of Nice which was super-exciting! As scavengers they are perfectly adapted to hoovering up whatever carrion and scraps they might find in cities, towns and landfills, it made me think of how Red Kites are spreading out once more in the UK, hopefully soon we will be welcoming them back to big cities!
Our favourite park was the Parc Du Chateau, up on a hill in the old town. It was full of twisty paths through lush greenery that brought you out in surprising places! Its features included a mighty cascade and some superb bird-based mosaics!
|Looking up at Parc Du Chateau from the old town.|
|Awesome mosaic action!|
|View from Parc Du Chateau.|
|Jewish cemetery in Parc Du Chateau, where there were Firecrests and Sardinian Warblers aplenty!|
|Parc Du Chateau.|