Walking with Birds. Eating Fish all the Way

Walking with Birds. Eating Fish all the Way
Proud mother watches her baby, walk, feed, swim and run.

A six kilometre walk in temperatures of about 30 degrees is not everybody’s idea of fun but we had the most enjoyable and informative walk this Saturday afternoon through the Reserve Ornithologique du Teich on the shores of the Bassin d’Arcachon.

Here you get close to the wild birds, via some twenty observation huts and four Observation Points. Not all birds performed! Why should they? You’d probably have to live here and buy an annual pass to get the best of it. But we did have two memorable highlights.

Indeed, our very first stop was in the stork nesting area and there were quite a few of them at home. For someone from a country without storks, this was an incredible experience. And we would have one more.

From a hide, about midway through the walk, we saw, what I think is,  a Black Winged Stilt lying on a small bank in the water. When she rose, she’ll revealed three little chicks and just one egg there. The mother and father kept an eye on the little ones as they swam and walked in the shallow water near the shore. Amazing.

The morning started with a visit to the market in Arcachon, much enlarged with many extra stalls out in the open air. Fish was the order of the day here. We ordered mussels and the man threw in a big bunch of parsley and we also bought a stuffed crap from the same stall.

That €2.50 worth of mussels, cooked with the parsley and accompanied by some “Farm” bread, provided us with a tasty lunch in the hot sun. After that, we headed off to the Bird Reserve.

On the way home, we realised (horror of horrors!) that we had no starter sorted out. No bother! Called into one of the seven oyster ports in Gujan-Mestras and walked up to one of the cabins. Sat down in the sun and had a look at the menu. Didn't go beyond #1: six oysters, bread, a glass of white or pink (as he said), lemon and shallot vinaigre. We had a #1 each, at nine euro apiece. Starter sorted! And no washing up.

Now for the crab and a bottle of white Graves. The whites from the Graves area are really good. We haven’t drawn a dud yet and have enjoyed the following: L’Emigre 2011 biologique (€6.70), Vimont 2012 (7.30), Haut Reys 2012 (6.40), and Castre 2011 (15.30). These are usually a blend of Sauvignon, Semillon and Muscadelle (minor contribution usually), though I think one of the four is 100% Semillon.