Monday, 13 May 2013

CORSICA May 2013: Col de Sorba & Restonica Valley

Monday 6 May 2013.  It was a clear, bright morning and we left Corte after breakfast to head back towards Col de Sorba, stopping first a km short of the D69 turn off at Fort de Pasciolo.  The maquis here was excellent for Marmora's Warbler but I failed to find the hoped for Subalpine Warbler.  Crag Martin, Wood Lark and tawny Pipit were reasonable compensation while two Cuckoos were very vocal.  We also saw the only phyllosc of the trip, a lone Chiffchaff.

Fort de Pasciolo from the main road lay-by

Fort de Pasciolo up close

and my excellent interpreter ...
panorama from Fort de Pasciolo
view of the Col de Sorba from Fort de Pasciolo
one of many tunnels on the Ajaccio-Corte line

Tawny Pipit

Marmora's Warbler

showing distinctive dark throat

We reluctantly left the Fort de Pasciolo area and agreed to continue to the 3 km track off the Col de Sorba road but not attempt the hairpins (my translator not being impressed with my mountain driving was to later be vindicated).  We walked for a km along the track with Megan returning early while I concentrated on some opportunistic photography.  Birds seen were similar to our previous visit (Coal Tits, Corsican Nuthatch, 7 Corsican Finches and Cirl Bunting) but also included Spotted Flycatcher and Raven.

'3 km track' off Col de Sorba road
Coal Tit, the race sardus is found on Corsica and unsurprisingly Sardinia
perhaps a less grey mantle than the 'continentals' we sometimes see in sussex
this one was very confiding!
Corsican Finch playing hide and seek in similarly coloured blossom
not so impressive head on although much yellower below than mainland Citril Finch
this Corsican Nuthatch was seen in the same area as a pair had been yesterday
but it was much more obliging
... usually ...
giving the sort of views I'd really hoped for
a very nice 'bird of the trip'
We returned to Corte and after lunch as the weather remained fine headed for the Restonica valley.  Here my driving came up short as while passing another vehicle on the narrow winding road I put a wheel off the verge and it punctured on a sharp rock.  Very annoying as I'd stopped for the other car on a wider bit of road but it hadn't come on until I started moving.  We parked at the end of the road and walked for an hour up to the head of the valley, seeing only a Robin and a Raven, before returning to Corte with no further mishaps.

Railway (and road) bridge on return to Corte

upper Restonica Valley with clouds coming in
starting out to the head of the valley with some rather dirty snow

rather cleaner snow higher up
Corsican Pines 
Jay of the endemic race corsicanus
evening view from our balcony

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