Randonneurs

Wildlife

As you make your way around the forest and Alpine pastures, keep an ear out and stay quiet, one of our local wildlife species is never far away, or within reach of your binoculars!

What encounters can you expect to have in the heart of Tarentaise? Discover the fauna of the territory: chamois, marmots, ibex, tetras-Lyre, ptarmigan …

Bouquetin

Le bouquetin

The Ibex is the Park’s emblem! Currently, the Vanoise National Park is home to the largest Ibex population in France, numbering around 1,800. These stocky-looking animals are easy to recognise thanks to their long backwards-curving horns.
Did you know?
A male Ibex can lose one third of its bodyweight over winter and must rely on stored fat to survive.
Site: Les Encombres Valley / Saint Martin de Belleville

Chamois

The chamois

The chamois has a grey-beige coat in summer, with a darker band on its head, and its hooves are so well adapted to hard snow that it’s not uncommon to see them standing on the firm upper levels of the glacier. They live in herds,but the two sexes remain separate outside rutting season.
Site: Les Encombres Valley / Saint Martin de Belleville

marmottes

Marmot

Known for its shrill cry, sometimes heard along the trails, the Vanoise National Park has become a favourite spot for marmots. Its 300-degree field of vision and eyes positioned high up on the face help to protect it from predators, eagles in particular. Absent from the forests, it lives in family groups inside burrows from which it rarely ventures far. It spends six months of winter hibernating, from October to April. Marmot pups, three or four per litter, are born in May and only emerge from their burrow in early July.
 
Sites :  La Montagnette trail in Val Thorens
            Vanoise National Park

Lagopède Alpin

Rock Ptarmigan

Over 2,000m up, on the flat mountain grasslands, moors, snowy vales and rocky slopes, hides the rock ptarmigan or “snow partridge.” It’s known for seasonally shedding its plumage: in winter, its feathers are white as snow… in summer it is dark coloured, and between seasons, it is multicoloured to blend in with its environment. In winter, it protects itself from the cold by allowing itself to be covered by snow.

Sites:  Les Encombres Valley / Saint Martin de Belleville
           Vanoise National Park

Tétras-Lyre

Black grouse

The black grouse is also called the “little wood grouse”. The male is recognisable for its blue-black colour and lyre-shaped tail, while the female’s plumage is a drab brown colour that allows it to camouflage and stay safely out of sight of predators.

Did you know?
The black grouse can spend 20 hours a day in its igloo. It is active between 4am and 8am and from 5pm to 9 pm.

Sites : Les Encombres Valley / Saint Martin de Belleville

La Grenouille Rousse

Red frog

The only species of frog found at altitude in Vanoise is the red frog, it is regularly found at around 2,500m. Despite its name, its colouring can vary: red, obviously, but also brown, grey, yellowish and slightly mottled with dark brown. It frequents marshlands but, like most frogs and toads, only lives in the water during mating season. That doesn’t start until April or May at this altitude.

Sites: Les Encombres Valley and theArtificial Lakewetlands  / Saint-Martin-de-Belleville

La Perdrix Bartavelle

Rock partridge

This partridge, the largest in Europe, is distinguished by its light-coloured bib and black and white striped sides. It’s a fan of warm mountain environments. In Savoie, it breeds on the sunny slopes comprising moors, grasslands and rocky outcrops, between altitudes of1,500 and 2,600m. That’s where it finds its food (leaves, early shoots, grains, invertebrates, etc.,) and places to hide from predators. Originally from the mountains in the south-west of Europe, in France, this species is only found in the Alps, especially in the Vanoise mountain range where it mostly occupies the TarentaiseandMaurienne’ssunny south-facing slopes. Legal to hunt in season, the rock partridge can be affected by harsh winters, changes to its habitat and hybridisation with partridges introduced for hunting purposes (the Chukar Partridge and the Red Partridge).

Sites: Les Encombres Valley / Saint Martin de Belleville
          Vanoise National Park

Aigle Royal

Golden eagle

Mainly nesting in the Internal Alps, its home range comprises Alpine grasslands, scree and rock faces. It’s more important for its breeding site to be quiet than at a high altitude. Breeding usually happens at a lower altitude than the eagle’s hunting grounds, to make it easy to transport prey (marmots, mountain hares, goat kids, etc.).

Sites:  Les Encombres Valley / Saint Martin de Belleville
           Vanoise National Park

Gypaète barbu

Bearded vulture

The largest vulture in the wildin Europe. The two sexes look similar but the female is larger than the male.
Its large pointed wingsand its wedge-shaped tail make it easy to identify. 
Its beakis strong, powerful and laterally compressed.

The bearded vulture is so named for the bristly feathersthat form its strange black beard. Its eyes are yellow, surrounded by an intense red ocular circle.

This majestic raptor commonly lives in pairs, rarely alone. The bearded vulture is impossible to confuse with another raptorin flight. It whirls around in the air with its wings kept horizontal.
15 bearded vultures have been sightedin Savoie, 2 of which were flying over Belleville’s Nant Brun and the Encombres Valleys.

Lieux : Nant Brun Valley / Encombres à Saint Martin de Belleville
            Parc de la Vanoise

Papillon Petit Apollon

Small Apollo butterfly

Artificial Lakewetlands - Saint-Martin-de-Belleville

Recognisable for their white wings mottled with black marks, the three species of Apollo butterfly recorded in France are all protected. Two of them, the Apollo and the small Apollo, have red marks circled with black on their posterior wings.They have a close relationship with yellow mountain saxifrage, the plant on which its caterpillars feed, which grows in the wet meadows and on the shores of rivers between altitudes of 1,300 and 2,600m. In France, they’re found in the Internal Alpine mountain ranges, from Haute-Savoie to the Maritime Alps. Widespread in Tarentaise-Vanoise, the little Apollo is still vulnerable because of the destruction of its habitat (wetland drainage, water catchment, pollution, etc.).

 Sites: Les EncombresValley and Artificial LakeWetlands / Saint Martin de Belleville
           Vanoise National Park

Triton Alpestre

Alpine newt

Artificial Lakewetlands- Saint-Martin-de-Belleville

An amphibian between 7 and 12cm in length, with a bright orange stomach that contrastsstrikingly with its darker coloured back. Despite what the name suggests, though this newt can be found up to altitudes of around 2,700m, it also frequents low altitude wetlands. Its aquatic phase, which corresponds with the mating season, generally extends from April to June, but it is sometimes seen in the water during summer. It lays itseggs in various wet areas: marshes, ditches, oxbow lakes near streams, etc. Highly vulnerable to the destruction and alteration of these environments, the Alpine newt is a protected species in France.

 

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Moûtiers480m

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Les Belleville (Les Menuires)1850

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