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Fort de la Revère - Èze, Alpes-Maritimes (06)
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Show:
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Surroundings and naturel setting of the site

One of the hotspots in Alpes-Maritimes is Fort de la Revère, built in 1870 at the municipality of Eze. At 675 metres above sea level, between the mountains and the sea, Fort de la Revère is the culminating point of the Parc Naturel Départemental de la Grande Corniche (owned by Conseil Général of Alpes-Maritimes). Situated on a stunningly beautiful lapiés (weathered limestone surface found in karst regions and consisting of etched, fluted, and pitted rock pinnacles separated by deep grooves), its sunbaked slopes harbour a typical garrigue vegetation with aromatic scents. The view point offers a spectacular vista on the entire coast line and the surrounding hills. The parc consists of limestone plateaux bordered by cliffs or "baous" and its rugged landscape is sculpted by the action of water: caves and chasms ("gouffres" in French; aven de la Simboula at la Revère), sinkholes (a depression in the ground communicating with a subterranean passage and formed by solution or collapse of a cavern roof) and lapiès. The parc is one of the last refuges for the characteristic vegetation of the coastal ecosystems of Alpes-Maritimes. 450 species of plants can be found, including some protected at national level, such as the Carob Tree or Saint John's Bread (Ceratonia siliqua), Bertoloni's Bee Orchid (Ophrys bertolonii), Tree Mallow (Lavatera maritima) and Mentone or Winter Snowflake (Leucojum nicaeense). The parc is also most interesting for birds. Large raptors take advantage of the rising thermals generated by the coastal hills. At night, owls are hunting in their territories. Wild boar, rabbits, foxes and badgers come out at nighfall. Typical passerines of the mediterranean garrigue, represent one of the richnesses of the area, including several Sylvia warblers. It is also home to the largest lizard of Europe, the rare Ocellated Lizard (Timon lepidus), reaching 60 to 80 cm.

History of the survey

In southeastern France, there was no permanent migration survey until the autumn of 2001. From that year on, encouraged by the observations by local observers, LPO PACA has conducted a survey to improve our knowledge of this migratory flow by organizing a migration camp. Thanks to the co-operation of salaried staff, a group of volunteers and keen observers, the financial support of its partners (Département des Alpes-Maritimes, Région PACA), new editions meet a growing success.

Ornithological interest, emblematic species

The total number of birds, recorded at Fort de la Revère, is fluctuating from year to year, depending on weather conditions. During autumn 2006, 75.577 birds were counted in two months and a half. At the watchpoint, total numbers depend generally on the important passage of Woodpigeons (33.025 in autumn 2006). The latter sometimes represent nearly 70% of the total number of migrants, including all species. Numberwise, they are followed by passerines, raptors and finally other species, such as White Storks, Great Cormorants and Cranes.

The ornithological diversity is also important, with about a hundred species recorded every year. The raptor diversity is particularly interesting and ranks the site among the best in France. Nearly twenty species of birds of prey are recorded annually during active migration. The highest species diversity is found among passerines, with nearly 70 species each autumn. Diurnal migration of passerines is mostly in October shortly after sunrise. Finally, other species, such as Great cormorants, White Storks and Cranes represent only ten species, the ornithological interest of which is no less, compared to the preceding species.

Calendar

The best migration periods are between early March and the end of May in spring and from September to mid November in autumn. A migration watcher of the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux receives visitors and birders during autumn migration, from the end of August to mid November, the best period to witness migration.

During autumn, the southbound postnuptial migration mainly concerns breeding adults and juveniles. There are almost as many migration itineraries as there are birds. Most migrants do not concentrate on a narrow route, but will cross Europe over a wide front, preferring certains migratory axes because of their favourable topography, their meteoroligical features or the presence of good food supplies at certain stopover sites. Soaring birds will try to avoid the crossing of hostile areas, such as the Mediterranean Sea or the Sahara desert. Most will cross the sea at narrow straits, such as Gibraltar or the Bosporus, island-hopping to a lesser extent. Birds seen at Fort de la Revère follow opposite directions according to the season, and are heading northeast to southwest (240°) in autumn, without crossing the Mediterranean directly from the French coast. These birds will mainly cross at Gibraltar. The autumn migration period lasts for 4 months, with a succession of species between mid July and mid November. By mid September, however, the migratory flow and the species diversity are reaching a peak.

Visitors

From 24 August until 12 November, there is permanently a migration watcher at the watchpoint and optical equipment is available to the general public.  Binoculars, telescopes and binocular telescopes will allow visitors to familiarize themselves with this essential equipment for the observation of migrants arriving way in the distance. We are trying to detect birds as early as possible, in order to increase the observation time and to clinch identification with a good number of features. In fine weather conditions, birds may by detected at 5 or 6 km from the vantage point. When detected, they are often only small dots at the horizon, heading towards us. At the distance "jizz" (general impression of size and shape) plays an important role in identification. As the birds approach, the finer details of plumage and moult are increasingly important. If possible, we will be ageing and sexing the birds as well.

Access

Fort de la Revère can be reached from Niche by following la Grande Corniche towards Eze. It is more efficient, however, to take the motorway A8 towards Italy and take the exit "la Turbie". Before entering the village, turn right and follow la Grande Corniche to the col of Eze. A short distance before the col, follow the signposted "Parc Départemental de la Grande Corniche" and ascend to the highest fortress.

Nice International Airport :
Voice server : 06 36 69 55 55 - Information desk : 04 93 21 30 30 - Internet : http://www.nice.aeroport.fr

SNCF railway stations of Nice :
Gare Thiers – Nice centre, Gare de Riquier – Nice Est - Voice server : 08 36 67 68 69 - Information for travelers : 08 36 35 35 35

Gare routière de Nice :
Bus Lines 115 and 116 (not on Sundays and holidays), stop at "Col d'Eze" and walk on by foot – Information desk : 04 93 85 61 81

Taxi : opposite the railway station 04 93 88 25 82

Places to stay and eat

  • Tourist Office of Eze: 04 93 41 26 00 - Web site : http://www.eze-riviera.com

  • Mairie de La Turbie : 04 92 41 51 61 - Web site : http://www.ville-la-turbie.fr

  • Camp site : Camping les Romarins : 04 93 01 81 64 (Grande Corniche, bus stop " Le Pous ")

  • Gîtes de France : 04 92 15 21 30 (55, promenade des anglais 06000 Nice)

  • Hotels : Auberge de l'Hermitage, col d'Eze 04 93 41 00 68 - Hôtel du Golf, Eze-village 04 93 41 18 50 - " Le Césarée ", La Turbie 04 93 41 16 08 - " Le Napoléon ", La Turbie 04 93 41 00 54 - " Hostellerie Jérôme ", La Turbie 04 92 41 51 51

  • Youth Hostel: 04 93 81 27 63 - Clairvallon - av. Scudéri - Cimiez - à Nice

Contact

LPO PACA

Villa Saint-Jules

6 avenue Jean Jaurès

83400 Hyères-les-Palmiers

Tel : 04 94 12 79 52 – Fax : 04 94 35 43 28

Email : mailto:paca@lpo.fr 

Information for visits or participating in the survey : mailto:alpes-maritimes@lpo.fr

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