Birdwatching near Laroque des Alberes
Several different habitats are nearby, providing opportunities for viewing a variety of species.
The Alberes hills themselves are accessible on foot directly from the house, and also on foot from other points with road access. The National Nature Reserve of the Massane is in the Alberes Hills. A mixture of Mediterranean and mountain species can be found due to the varied habitat.
The lagoon between Canet and St Cyprien, approximately 21km from the house, has variable salinity, being fed by both fresh and salt water sources. It is separated from the sea by the sandy beach and the coast road, parking on which gives views both out to sea and over the lagoon. The lagoon is surrounded by reed beds and attracts waders, wild fowl and in spring and autumn passage birds. On the western side of the lagoon is the Delta du Reart reserve with reed beds and saltmarsh.
Nearby, between St Cyprien and Argeles there is the Mas Larrieu reserve, which is also reed beds and marsh where the River Tech flows to the sea, and contains resident species and passage birds.
Further inland is the lake of Villeneuve de la Raho, with a reserve on its wooded south western corner -- usually good in spring and autumn for migrating waders and raptors including honey buzzard.
Further away it is possible to access the higher mountains and Pyrenees. Eyne is a good site in early autumn to observe migration (stork, buzzard, eagle, kite, harrier, bee-eater etc).
Good sources of information in English are the books - `Birdwatching guide to France South of the Loire' & ‘Birdwatching guide to the Pyrenees' and the fatbirder website.
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