There is a stunning array of birds that can be observed in the Pyrenees. Even if you don’t consider yourself a bird watcher, you cannot fail to be impressed by the number of raptors that can be seen without making any effort by simply looking up while lounging in the back garden at River Cottage.
Bearded vultures (Lammergeyers) have also been seen in the valley and are more frequently seen in the nearby Vallees des Grave. Although they occasionally descend to 300 to 600 m, bearded vultures are rarely seen below an elevation of 1,000 m and normally reside above 2,000 m. They are typically found around or above the tree line which are often near the tops of the mountains at up to 2,000 m in Europe. Its closest relative, the Egyptian vulture, can also be seen in the Vallees des Grave but at lower altitudes and it is possible to see Griffon Vultures in the same location too.
From the garden it is common to see Little Dippers flying from rock to rock in the river or skimming the water surface as they pass by. Yellow, Grey and Pied Wagtails are also common around the river.
A 40 minute drive from River Cottage takes you to Donjon des Aigles the medieval castle in the village of Beaucens near Argeles-Gazost. It houses one of the most prestigious collections of raptors including Kites, Vultures, Eagles, Falcons and Hawks. It is open from spring until late September.