the year? The same issue of Ornithos that carries this news also contains the annual report on rare breeding birds in France, among which the Ruddy Duck features. La Brire Justice moves slowly everywhere, but it is good to report that it has eventually caught up with the three men recently found guilty of killing 23 egrets and 3 Grey Herons in August 2001, on the Brire marshes. According to the Inventaire des Oiseaux de France (Nathan, 2000) it appears that the Pyrenean population does not move very far into France it is likely that these birds head for the Spanish foothills instead. In fact there was a short 'bird trail' on the adjacent hillside, with some impressive information boards displaying the migration strategies and general behaviour of the local raptors and other mountain specialities. Not to mention the fact that the vultures have become a major tourist attraction in many areas, bringing significant income to the rural areas where they breed. Not only are these areas good for Corncrakes, but other species such as Whinchats and Reed Warblers also seem to gravitate to them, particularly on migration. Both figures indicate a certain stability, which is perhaps some indication that conservation efforts are bearing fruit, although the raw figures hide the fact that there were quite large differences from spot to spot, with some places showing a decline and others an increase.
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Those who worry about the apparently unstoppable ability of exotic species to escape from captivity and establish thriving feral populations, often to the detriment of native species, will be less enthusiastic. Peregrines hunting at night Many of the historic buildings of France are dramatically floodlit at night, and although this provides a spectacular show for humans, it also has an effect on wildlife. During daily counts at the Pointe de Grave, a spring migration hotspot on the west coast near Bordeaux, 1600 Black Kites have been counted this year from the beginning of March to 18th May, but just one Red (on 1st April). White Storks wintering in France In parallel with the increased numbers of breeding pairs of White Storks in France (c. Her first port of call was Worth Matravers in Dorset on 21st and 22nd November 2011 but on the 18th December she was reported to be in Normandy, at Montchaton on the Cherbourg peninsula, not far from Coutances. It is nice to be able to acknowledge here that Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays, who always make a donation to a local conservation organisation after their trips, were able to send 390 to the LPO Refuges programme as a result of their most recent trip. Management plans will no doubt need modification in many cases as sea-levels continue to rise. Visits to local areas of interest are also on offer, including boat trips on the Loire and out into the open sea to look for more pelagic species. Of the 11 birds, one died shortly after release, three died in Spain or France for unknown reasons, one was found poisoned in France, and another was shot (illegally, of course) in France.