The plan was pretty much the same as last autumn - drive to the French west coast and look for migrating Ospreys and other migrants. Then a few days watching migration in the Pyrenees before heading south towards the Strait of Gibralter, stopping off in Extremadura both before and after spending a month in Tarifa. Ile d'oleron is a large Island connected to the French mainland by a road bridge and a quick glance on Google Earth showed the southern half to have shallow bays and estuaries perfect for passage Ospreys. We went through the Channel Tunnel at 03.25, arrived and departed Calais at 05.00 local time and were watching our first fishing Osprey on Ile d'oleron at 15.25. A great start to 2 months of non stop migration watching.
A quiet shallow bay on the east side of the Island was brilliant for waders with hundreds of summer plumage Bar-wits, Grey Plovers, Curlews, Redshank etc. The bay also had an adult male Osprey in residence which spent most of the time just sitting on a stump in the water. We had some spectacular views of him fishing especially when he flushed all the roosting waders.
The brambles and rough grass around the edge of the bay were alive with migrants such as Willow Warblers, Whitethroats, Ortolan, Wryneck and a brief singing Bluethroat. Yellow Wagtails and Tree Pipits regularly called as they continued south probably taking advantage of the calm sunny day.
Many of the waders had colour rings and at high tide it was possible to accurately see some of the colour combinations. The male Osprey just sat on his perch ignoring the waders that were being ruled by the rising tide.