There were 101 of them and they were black and white but they were storks rather than dogs and they
were standing in a field in Valence. They were first seen there on Tuesday evening and some were even sitting on roofs and telephone poles. By wednesday morning they had moved to another field closer to the church but when I last went to look late that afternoon they had moved on, presumably towards Spain. While I was photographing them I heard a stone curlew call several times but I was not able to locate him.
The storks show us that migration is under way. The swifts have already left of course and probably quite a few of the swallows as well although many of them are still to be seen gathering in flocks while house martins are now only occasionally glimpsed.
I'm still waiting for the first pied flycatchers of the return migration but there are plenty of the spotted variety to be found at the moment. An unexpected early individual was a female wheatear which I came across near Artenac last Saturday.
Other recent birds of note include an obliging sleek Cetti's warbler which allowed me to watch him by the footbridge at Le Moulin d'Oiseau for some minutes, kingfishers on both the Charente and the Son-Sonnette and several hoopoes but it's now difficult to find any red backed shrikes in their usual haunts.