The hiker will doubtless easily perceive many birds and, above all, birds of prey who inhabit the area : Falcons and buzzards,hawks, vultures, golden eagles and snake eagles hunting or mating. As for larks, you will definitely hear them.
Mammals are difficult to observe during the day. However, it’s not so rare to perceive a hare or a roe deer in the edges of the fields.
To the south of the Aigoual, a herd of mouflons occupies the slopes of the Luzette and are observable by day with binoculars. On the Méjean causse, in Drigas, a herd of Prjevalski horses has been introduced to ensure the survival of this endangered species.
Deer, wild boars, badgers, martens and foxes all coexist on the ground, while martens and squirrels chase one another in the foliage. Meeting the genette or the wild cat takes a little more luck ...
Insects, within this protected environment, are very well represented. This is demonstrated by the success of the Micropolis park in Saint Léons near Millau in Aveyron, birthplace of Jean-Henri Fabre (famous work: Entomological memories in ten volumes).
Good basic advice :
- Keep the dog whose hunting instinct is intact and which is likely to disrupt the game, on a leach, especially during the breeding and feeding season of the young.
- Do not approach wild animals to take a "closer" picture.
- Do not handle young birds or mammals that seem lost to you : their parents are certainly not far away and they may be inclined to abandon them for this reason.
- And for herds: use the prepared passages and carefully close the barriers.
The Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) is a protected species. This soaring bird (wingspan : 2m50) had disappeared from the region of the grands causses, victim of poisoning of “vermin”, lack of food (leaving carcasses of dead livestock was forbidden) and massacres by trophy hunters … Reintroduced by the National Park in the gorges de la jonte since 1967, now almost 300 nest in the totality of the Causses, appreciating the thermic currents at the crossing of the gorges du Tarn and the gorges de la Jonte. This is one of the biggest birds in Europe, an adult weighing 8 to 10 kilos….
The population of golden eagles of the Massif central is spread out over the southern fringe of the Grandes Causses and the Cévennes, in the heart of or in the connected zone of the Cévennes National Park. As a rare bird and a species high on the food chain, the Golden Eagle is monitored and particularly protected. Observations on the land are rare and this bird is not always identifiable in flight. It even passes unnoticed by novice ornithologists. That may be for the best! The Golden Eagle is extremely powerful and could easily break your arm with a single strike….
With its 2 metres wingspan, the Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) is one of the biggest raptor in Europe. It is also one of the rarest. When it flies, its long wedge-shaped tail enables to distinguish it easily from other species. Unlike most vultures, the bearded vulture does not have a bald head. The bird has an orange and black plumage. The creamy-coloured forehead contrasts against a black band across the eyes and lores and bristles under the chin, which form a black beard that give the species its name. The bearded vulture feeds mostly on the remains of dead….
The European asp (Vipera aspis) lives in warm areas that are exposed to the sun, with structurated vegetation and comparatively dry soils. The triangularhead and the vertical pupils of the eyes are characteristic of Viperae. The tip of the snout is slightly but distinctly upturned. The European asp feeds mainly on rodents (field mice, voles), but also sometimes on lizards and birds. This snake is venomous. A bite is very painful and, if not treated, may sometimes be fatal. However, the European asp is not aggressive and always prefer fleeing than fighting. It uses its venom only to hunt its….
The wild boar (Sus scrofa) is a gregarious mammal. It frequently wallows in mud and scratches itself against tree trunks to remove parasites. It is a highly versatile omnivore, which digs up a great part of its food. It feeds on many plants (in particular roots and bulbs), mushrooms, and animals (worms, insects, little mammals but also birds), dead or alive. The wild boar is an overabundant species in the Cévennes: it causes harm in the fields and gardens in turning the soil and inflicts damage to the vernacular heritage in collapsing dry-stone walls.
The Rosalia longicorn (Rosalia alpina) is one of the most beautiful beetle in France and is a protected specied. It belongs to the Cerambycidae family, also called longicorns or longhorns because of the length of their antennae. This insect is 15 to 40 mm long and its elytra are blue-gray with black spots. This coloration serves as good camouflage with their preferred habitat, the European Beech. The Rosalian longicorn lay eggs in dead or dying trunks of this tree. The development time for the larvae is particularly long: several years. This insect can be seen in the Cévennes National Park,….
The Red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio) is a medium-sized passerine bird. Its beak is hooked, like that of a bird of prey, reflecting its predatory nature. If the female is duller, the adult male is easily identifiable: grey head with a typicalblack stripe through the eye, reddish upperparts, salmon pink underparts. The genus name, Lanius, is derived from the Latin word for “butcher” because of the feeding habits of the bird. In fact, shrikes are known for their habit of catching insects and small vertebrates and impaling their bodies on thorns, the spikes on barbed-wire fences or any available sharp point…..
The Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) is the biggest snake in Europe: more than 2 meters long! Unfortunately, very few of these animals grow to such a size: many Montpellier snakes are killed by road traffic… This snake is greyish or greenish brown on the back and yellow on the belly. It lives in garrigues and bushes. Its choice preys are lizards, snakes, small mammals, but it can also eat birds or young rabbits. If it is rushed or if it feels threatened, the Montpellier snake may sometimes rise up, blow sharply to impress its adversary, and as a last resort….
The Short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus) is a medium-sized bird of prey. You can easily observe it when it flies or when it is perched in a tree or on a rock. The upper parts of its plumage are brown, but when you seeit flying, it can be easily recognised by its predominantly white underside (with little brown flecks). It has an owl-like rounded head, with yellow eyes. When quartering open country, it frequently hovers like a kestrel in order to locate its preys. This migratory bird comes back in spring, when snakes reappears. In fact, the short-toed eagle feeds on….
You can see this bird perched on a rock in shallow rivers… The White-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus) seeks its food from the watercourses. This aquatic passerine is the size of a blackbird, and has a brown plumage with a white throat. It dives as soon as it has located a prey – larvae or little fishes. The bord can walk, completely immersed, on the bottom of the stream, and even “fly” under water with wings slightly open, letting itself be carried away by the current over a short distance.