New Trip Report: Pyrenean Desman in France

Desmans are surely one of Europe’s coolest mammals, and yet two years ago it was extremely hard to know where reliably to look for them. Ben Schwienhart’s 2017 report changed that. The details propelled Phil Telfer to his 1000th mammal last year and hopefully others have been too.

Samuel Marlin just scored there. It is a beautiful area with fabulous food, so if you haven’t seen a Desman then what are you waiting for …

Operation Desman, 2018: Samuel Marlin’s account of seeing Desman several times around Lacs D’Ayous in the French Pyrenees.

Jon

7 Comments
  1. Ben S 4 years ago

    Great photos! The Desman is a wonderful animal, and Lac d’Ayous is a beautiful site. I’m glad my report was helpful.

    Ben
    http://www.tremarctos.com

  2. samuel 4 years ago

    Yes it was very helpful Ben. Thanks again.

    • Toby Nowlan 7 months ago

      Hi Sam (and Ben), I’m hoping to head there with a friend in May this year – if you had any advice for us on where exactly to go we’d be really grateful!
      Thank you,
      Toby Nowlan.
      http://www.tobynowlan.com

      • Author
        Jon Hall 7 months ago

        I sent this to Samuel but Ben’s report has exact coordinates of where he saw it.

  3. samuel 7 months ago

    Hi Toby, yes Jon is right: Ben is giving in his report the exact coordinates where he saw the desman and I actually see it in the exact same place. I assume it was the same individual. After those years, I don’t know if the place is still reliable but for sure worth a try.
    A few tips: to get to the desman place, you will have to sleep at the Refuge d’Ayous. There is no other option except camping but I’m not sure this is allowed in May. By the way, since you plan to go there in May, please contact the Refuge team before to confirm on which day they are opening for the season because they usually do it late May/early June. I’d recommend spending at least 2 nights at the Refuge to give you enough time to look for the desman. The desman place (small water ponds) is just a few hundred meters from the Refuge but at a higher elevation and in May the year we were there it was full of snow so take good shoes/boots. We did all of our observations during the day and did not bother to go again at night when it is said the desman is more active. Looking at desman requires patience: waiting for hours for the beast to get out of his hidden place to forage the bottom of the pond for just a couple of minutes before he hides again !! Even if you don’t see the desman the place is just gorgeous and the hike to get to the Refuge very scenic.
    Hope this helps

    • TOBY NOWLAN 6 months ago

      Sam/ John thanks so much for this (apologies for delayed response I’ve been injured and offline!), really grateful for all this, we’re hoping to go this year.

  4. TOBY NOWLAN 6 months ago

    Sam/ John thanks so much for this (apologies for delayed response I’ve been injured and offline!), really grateful for all this, we’re hoping to go this year.

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