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Puech Debon - Saint-Germain-du-Teil, Lozère (48)
Watchpoint
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Site descriptions

Show:
https://cdnfiles2.biolovision.net/www.migraction.net/pdffiles/news/small/Saint_Germain_du_Teil_mars_2007_vue_sur_l-Aubrac_Francois_Legendre-4795.JPG
https://cdnfiles2.biolovision.net/www.migraction.net/pdffiles/news/small/Saint_Germain_du_Teil_vue_sur_vallee_du_Lot_aout_2010_Francois_Legendre-2266.jpg

The natural surroundings of the watchpoint

The Lot rises at Cubières on the south slope of montagne du Goulet and flows southwestward through a major part of the Lozère. One of its main tributaries, the Colagne, runs south for some 20 km. The Aubrac plateau (between 1200 m and 1470 m) lies west of these rivers. It towers over the surrounding landscape with height differences ranging between 700 and 1000 m further downstream. Migratory birds must overcome this obstacle and will be faced with the choice of either crossing or avoiding the vast basaltic plateau. The watchpoint is bounded to the east by the Grands Causses and to the north by the high plateau of Margaride (1000 to 1551 m). In autumn, most migratory birds come from these directions. The watchpoint is located at the southwest boundary of the Lot valley, north of the Puech Debon, a 903 m high mountain. It offers a good view over the western part of the department. With low cloud level, many birds will follow the valley and fly over the watchpoint. Next, most will continue their journey in a southwesterly direction across a nearby mountain pass.

History of the survey

The watchpoint was discovered in 2006. It is surveyed as often as possible from March to May and from the end of July to late October. Although this is not one of the best migration watchpoints in France, it does have a local interest. The site allows a better understanding of migration within the Massif Central. In autumn, most birds observed here either flew across the northern part of this elevated region or arrived via eastern France. Although mountain weather is notoriously changeable and difficult to predict accurately, a number of species do cross the Massif Central when the conditions are right. While not necessarily the best bet, some take the risk to leave the Rhône valley and take a shortcut to the southwest. At times, many migratory birds can be seen here.

Ornithological interest, emblematic species

The major interest of the site is a migration survey within the Massif Central. The watchpoint is strategically positioned between the north (puys and Margeride) and the south (causses and Aubrac). The emblematic species is beyond any doubt the Black Stork. This species regularly crosses the Massif Central, whereas White Storks shun the area. Vultures are also well represented as well as the Golden Eagle.

Migration calendar

March is undeniably the best month with a remarkable Black Kite migration (several hundreds or even thousands, depending from year to year), Black Storks (some tens), Buzzards, Cormorants… In April, there is some good songbird migration (swallows and martins). Swifts are also common. In May, there are some top days for Honey Buzzard but also some Bee-eaters. By the end of July, the local Black Kites (a healthy population) leave the area and thousands of Common Swifts can be seen. The end of August is particularly interesting for Honey Buzzards, Black Storks, Ospreys, still quite a few Black Kites and some Bee-eaters. September is quieter with good numbers of Sparrowhawk and the arrival of the first flocks of passerines. October is a top month with Red Kites, Hawfinches, Siskins, Chaffinches, the last swallows and martins, pipits, wagtails and on average 25 to 30 species on each count.  

Visitors

The survey is irregular, depending on the availability of one or several birders.

How to get there?

The watchpoint can be easily found. Drive to the village of Saint-Germain-du-Teil along the valley of the river Lot and turn left at the public school. After about 1 km you can take a dirt track marked with a cross near a road bent/crossroads. The track is in excellent condition and 300 m further you will see a crossroads with a bench on the side. You can leave your car here and walk up a steep road for some 100 m. The watchpoint offers a good view to the north.

Where to stay and where to eat?

There are many possibilities nearby. There is an inn at Saint-Germain-du-Teil.

Contact

François Legendre : mailto:fl1973@yahoo.fr; 06 76 26 34 28 - Association Lozérienne pour l'Etude et la Protection de l'Environnement (ALEPE) - blog http://lozere.alepe.over-blog.com/

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