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Discovering flamingos in the Camargue by Frederic Lamouroux Discovering flamingos in the Camargue by Frederic Lamouroux Discovering flamingos in the Camargue by Frederic Lamouroux

Discovering flamingos in the Camargue

Birding in France

Tempo di lettura: 4 minuti
“Nature, birding, and wildlife are my life,”

says French ornithologist Frédéric Lamouroux, who runs one of the most beautiful bird watching destinations in the south of France: Pont de Gau ornithological park. We talked to him about his best birding experience, his favorite birding spots, and what his family’s heritage means to him.

Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) by Frederic Lamouroux

Frédéric, who inspired you as a birder?

My greatest inspiration was my dad, who got me into bird watching when he established the Pont de Gau ornithological park in the 1970s. Then there is Alan Johnson, the man who saved the Mediterranean Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) population and who I had the chance to meet and work with some time ago. And last but not least, I was very inspired by Canadian ornithologist Real Bisson, who I met while working in Quebec to raise awareness of the protection of Snow Geese (Anser caerulescens).

!!!Birding with Frederic Lamouroux - Discovering flamingos in the Camargue - ATX spotting scope
!!!Birding with Frederic Lamouroux - Discovering flamingos in the Camargue - flamingos
What does nature mean to you?

Nature means everything to me. I live in Arles, which is a 30-minute drive from my work. I cross the Camargue on my commute, and I love to see the morning and evening light and how it changes with the seasons. Spotting birds from the road never gets old.

orange and red Hummingbird, California -K19_110%_shutterstock_410611726_CMYK (ID1312280)

#seetheunseen

What’s the best birding experience you’ve ever had?


There are so many, but one that sticks out is my trip to Northern California, where I experienced so many firsts, like seeing my first hummingbird. During that trip, I got closer to the birds than ever before. One day, someone told me that I could see a group of cranes at a certain place. I went there and saw pelicans, ducks, geese, herons, but no cranes. I was disappointed and was driving back to Sacramento when I suddenly saw a White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) in a tree. I parked my car, but didn’t dare to move, so I waited. The bird seemed unphased by my presence and after a while, I rolled down my window. Still no reaction. Eventually, I got out of my car and went toward it. There were only four or five meters between us. It was incredible. I had one of the biggest smiles on my face for days.

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) by Frederic LamourouxLittle Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus) by Frederic Lamouroux
Portrait about Frederic Lamouroux

#gobirding

Where is your favorite birding spot? Do you have your very own birding patch you love to visit?


For me, nothing beats home, the Camargue. I know the land so well, yet never get tired of it. Its beauty still moves me every day. At my “office” at Pont de Gau, there are two spots I truly love. One is an observation tower in front of a small canal, where I watch the flamingos arrive at sunrise. The other one is a lookout in front of a big marsh where migratory birds pass over in spring and fall.

“One of my favorite birding spots? An observation tower in front of a small canal, where I watch the flamingos arrive at sunrise.”
Flamingos in the Camargue landscape by Frederic Lamouroux
!!!!Birding with Frederic Lamouroux - sunset flying flamingos!!!Birding with Frederic Lamouroux - sunset landscape

Which was the first Swarovski Optik product you encountered?

I think it was back when I worked with Alan Johnson in the Camargue. If I remember correctly, he used a CL Pocket 8x20. The first pair I owned was an SLC 10x42.

Portrait Frederic Lamouroux

About

Frédéric Lamouroux


Frédéric Lamouroux is director of the Pont de Gau ornithological park in the south of France, where he calls 60 hectares of open marshland his office. After he finished his ornithological training, he worked as educational manager at Pont de Gau before leaving for Quebec to work for the Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area. In 2000, he took over Pont de Gau from his father. Besides birds, Frédéric loves nature, the ocean, and traveling – and his SWAROVSKI OPTIK binoculars and spotting scope, which he describes as “simply the best products I’ve ever tried.” Frédéric mostly uses an NL Pure (10x32 and 8x42) and an ATX 85 when he is out counting bird populations.

Photos: Pont de Gau ornithological park and Jérôme Rey

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!!! My birding patch - Camilla Dreef /BCamilla Dreef: Ricerca e narrazione vanno di pari passoCONSERVAZIONE DEGLI UCCELLI ATTRAVERSO LA RICERCA E LA COMUNICAZIONE Tempo di lettura: 4 minuti