Not exactly in Nice but just across the Var river that separates Nice from St Laurent du Var is an ornithological reserve and protected nature park. Called the “Estuaire du Var” or “Petit Camargue”, this little piece of marshland at the Var estuary provides sanctuary to some 270 bird species!
I didn’t see quite that variety today; it was more like 270 birds. Still, the smell of fresh water and reed-lined river banks were an abrupt change from the Baie des Anges. I did spot some impressive herons grouped on a sand bar in the middle of the river at it rushed toward the sea and two enormous white swans. Cormorants, terns and gulls were also plentiful. There were a few guys there with serious lenses so I assume that there were rarer birds on site to make their investment worthwhile.
A wooden walkway runs along the banks and a half-dozen signs explain the bird life. Apparently, the reserve is on one of the major migratory routes that run from Africa to parts north. There are also nesting birds but the signs are unclear about who’s nesting and who’s travelling on.
The ornithological reserve must be in one of the world’s least welcoming places. It’s sandwiched between Cap3000, the giant shopping centre, and Terminal 2 of the Nice Airport. Planes roaring off the runway every 10 minutes seemed not to trouble the birds in the least. Nor did I see any flying into the jets to see what was going on in the engines. We have very smart birds on the French Riviera, not like those dumb Hudson twits!Follow me!