The Camargue #2, Rhône Delta, France 12/13

January 27, 2014

A must-stop on the way to Arles is the Pont de Grau Bird Park founded in 1949 by the passionate Camarguais ornithologist André Lamoroux. In 1974, his son, René Lamoroux, took charge. He envisioned a large sanctuary for local and migrating birds. Today, the park has grown to 60 hectares where thousands of birds can feel safe and their migratory stop-over, feeding and breeding grounds are protected. The number of dark pink flamingos in the park that morning was staggering. They come here during the day to feed and leave at dusk only to return the next day.

The center’s core mission is to teach awareness of protecting the Camargue in its natural stage. They also run a free care center for insured or sick birds, domestic or wild. Several of the knowledgeable staff spoke English and they patiently answered all our questions.

We strolled along the six miles of walking trails and while the main attraction were the pink flamingos, we observed several other bird species and had fun watching a muskrat scurrying across our path. Spring and Fall are the best time for viewing.

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It's one thing to see flocks of flamingos from a vantage point of a hot air balloon in the Serengeti and it's quite another feeling to watch hundreds of these majestic birds with they six foot wing spans flying straight at you in their landing approach.

It’s one thing to see flocks of flamingos from a vantage point of a hot air balloon in the Serengeti and it’s quite another feeling to watch a whole squadron of these majestic birds with wingspans over five foot flying straight at you in their landing approach.

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