Les Arcs

6th to 13th MARCH 2010

This week we were away at Les Arcs in the French Alps, principally for the skiing. Our accommodation was in Arc 2000 (altitude 2000m), and our first sign of wildlife was a small flock of finch-like birds flitting from balcony to balcony looking for scraps.

Diverting for a moment on to the serious business of skiing. We had a great week, sunny most of the time but unseasonably cold, and excellent snow conditions. One morning we ski'ed from the highest point (3225m) to the lowest (about 1200m).

On Wednesday evening we had a Savoiard dinner in a mountain restaurant, followed by music and dancing, then skiing back down the mountain with flaming torches. The picture shows James & Colin with their fire tins.

Back to the birds. Some of the mountain restaurants supported a population of these attractive birds, which we tentatively declared to be Skifinches. (Later reference to the book identified them as Snowfinches, a member of the Sparrow family.)

There were plenty of Alpine Choughs around, feeding and also displaying to potential mates.

The highest point of the Les Arcs ski area is the Aiguille Rouge, at 3225m. The picture shows our group on the top, with Mont Blanc in the background. (l to r Mick, Neil, James, Ian, Colin, Geoff.)

There were Choughs and Snowfinches even up at 3225m.

At the foot of the Aiguille Rouge cable car were more birds, mainly the ubiquitous Snowfinch.

I also saw one Alpine Accentor, which is a close cousin of our own Dunnock.

And finally, another Snowfinch.

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