Wild animals that can be observed on the Meteor estate.
We had the chance to observe several times a pair of Bonnelli’s eagles hovering side by side above the crater. These eagles with white plumage are very discreet but during their courtship they are more adventurous. They are mainly distributed around the Mediterranean and there are only about thirty pairs in France today.
We found a kestrel one morning in the henhouse and released it immediately. The kestrel is a small bird of prey which in this case had eyes bigger than its belly. It feeds mainly on small rodents and its hunting technique is characteristic, it flies in place at a few tens of meters from the ground in the position of the “Holy Spirit”, head tilted towards the ground, as soon as it has spotted a prey it rushes on it and finishes it off with a blow of its beak. It is not uncommon to observe this bird present in large numbers in our region.
Much more difficult to observe, the oriole is an African bird. It migrates to our region to reproduce. Shy and discreet, it hides in the bushes and trees, we saw it several times between the domain and the crater but always very briefly, we see a bright yellow light pass by, we listen to its melodious song and we wonder if we have not dreamed…
It is a magnificent bird with bright turquoise colors, it feeds on insects, snakes, lizards, amphibians and small rodents. The European Roller is a rare bird and it is totally protected on the whole French territory.
The wild cat
The wild cat is extremely rare, it was only recorded in the Pyrenees and in the north-east quarter of France before being observed in the Caroux-Espinouse massif in 2020 to the north of our domain. We saw one stealthily a few hundred meters from the domain in the middle of the night during the Covid confinement period. Wild cats are a bit bigger than domestic cats, they have a black dorsal stripe, a thick tail with black rings, ending with a black tuft.
We were also lucky enough to spot a badger near our vineyards in the middle of the night. These animals are not so rare but very discreet, nocturnal and rarely seen. They live in family clans and are excellent diggers, they dig networks of galleries and chambers up to 5m deep and several hundred meters long. The European badger is the largest of the mustelids, the male can exceed 20kg!
They are not always welcome here. Their poorly regulated population is always increasing and even if they sometimes try to help us plow the vineyards, this is not enough to pay for the astronomical quantity of grapes that they can devour shortly before the harvest.
Léo is a red cat with a mane. She feeds on small rodents and birds that she gives us as offerings as well as kibbles and pâtés. She spends her days sleeping on bills and delivery notes. She protects the chickens of the domain and sometimes welcomes people who come to taste our wines.