We need not explain the importance of the Pyrenees to the confirmed botanist, the amateur enthusiast can only marvel at the superb show and the variety and abundance of species, with 1400 plants in our valley alone and more than 3000 in the range. The climate, orientation of different hillsides, altitude and geological diversity combine to produce a unique flora of an incredible richness. The Pyrenean flora counts 150 endemic plants including such contrasting particularities as Ramonda, found in the Tropics during the tertiary period, and Moss Campion found in glaciers during the quaternary period, both of which can be found locally. During June and July we will be leading flower walks at our favourite sites including Gavarnie, Gedre, and at other hidden gems we have discovered ourselves. In general June is the best month for the spring flowers and July for the high alpines, although there is something to see through until mid-September.
The birdlife here in the Pyrenees is very specialised. The area excels in the number and variety of raptors- Bearded Vulture (ten pairs nesting locally), Golden Eagle (found on the mountain-side opposite Les Sorbiers), Booted Eagle, Bonellis Eagle, Short-Toed Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, and the ever-present Griffon. The bird most enthusiasts will want to see is the elusive Wallcreeper which during the summer is seldom found below 2000m, our closest site is two hours walk from the village (we observed the birds regularly through to mid-July). The bird otherwise can only be found high on the frontier ridge at over 2500m. We can organise a day to accompany you to our most reliable site. Other species found locally of interest to British birdwatchers are Eagle Owl, Alpine Accentor, Snow Finch, Citril Finch, Capercaillie, Rock Thrush, Firecrest and we have a number of Black Woodpeckers nesting around the village. The extensive bird lists at Les Sorbiers are an invaluable aid to finding where particular species can be found and can be used with our own route guide to the local footpath network, most importantly we explain ourselves what you can expect to find and where you can find it.
From May to October and wherever you wander you are accompanied by an amazing and ever changing assortment of butterflies. Mountain and meadow species abound in one of Europe's few remaining largely unspiolt habitats. One frequent visitor describes Bareges as "the butterfly capital of the world!" The richness of the local plantlife helped by natural farming techniques produce a perfect natural environment for butterfles to flourish. Meadows a few minutes walk from Bareges have produced over thirty species in an afternoon, to date our clients have identified 114 species here and there are more!