Flamingos! Flamingos!!! We were so excited to see our very first flamboyance of flamingos at the Camargue.
I was really glad that we picked up a map from the visitor’s center in Arles where the staff was really friendly and told us that D36b is a nice route to drive along to see the flamingos. The map also tells you other points of interest – the Parc Ornithologique de Pont de Gau (Bird Park), the Flamingo Reproduction Site, Salt works Observatory, Chateau d’Avignon and more.
Our first encounter with the flamingos actually looked nothing like the first picture. It looked more like the pictures above. There were lots and lots of them but we could barely see them as they were behind protective fences and quite a distance away. The flamingos were really sensitive and if you inch one step closer to the fence, they will sense it and shy away. So we could only admire them from afar. A pair of binoculars would have been useful!
The park is set up in a 60 acres of natural habitat without any fencing and the birds just come and go as they wish. The flamingos here seemed to have gotten used to having people around and they were not shy at all compared to the ones we saw along Route D36b.
We watched the birds really closely and they were not bothered by us at all and were just doing their own things. Eating, quarreling, marching, sleeping, flapping their wings away and flaming into the sky. (For more flamingo photos click here).
There was of course more than the flamingos at the Camargue. The sea lavender, the bulls, the Camargue horses and more. The bulls were mostly in hiding but I did manage to catch a glimpse of one bull, poking his head out from the bush that he was hiding at. There were also the elegant white Camargue horses everywhere (which Gary was not so interested at and didn’t want to stop and take photos). Some of them seemed to be wild, roaming in open space and some seemed to have been tamed and domesticated. We saw a few barns with Camargue horses as we got closer to the beach town, Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
The Camargue is a huge wet-land area covering 13 000 hectares of ponds, marshes, and we really could not cover much in one day, and also because we spent our time leisurely eating a wonderful lunch at Restaurant Les Saladelles. The only other place we managed to see besides the flamingos was the salt works observatory (at Salin de Giraud). It was a little barren but made prettier by the pink-hued salt ponds. Too much to see and too little time!