Visiting Birders Field Reports
Having been a Birder in the UK, and now being in France since 2004, i have found many good sites, including a pair of breeding Black Woodpeckers just 20mins from the Gites, also Red Squirrels and Coypu's are to be seen
Other great sites are: (i can pass on any other info when you are here)
The Parc de Sculptures in Bignan and Reguiny Lake- less than 10 mins away (both good for Crested Tit and woodpeckers)
Our Lake (Le Grange Fishery) with Kingfishers, Woodpeckers, Moorhens, Red Squirrels, Siskin and more - less than 20 mins away
Nantes Brest Canal - 20 mins away (Fantastic walks and great wildlife)
Forest of Le Forges - 25 mins away
Sene Marshes - 30 mins away
Duer and Suscinio - 40 mins away
Paimpont and Broceliande Forest - 40 mins away
Parc naturel régional de Brière - 1-hour 20mins away
Southern Brittany and Loire Atlantique - Bird Report 10th to 20th June
All reserves are detailed in 'A Birdwtaching Guide to Brittany' - Stephanie Coghlan (ISBN 1900159864)
Around the Gite there was an interesting variety of birds. Blackcap seemed to be singing everywhere, along with greenfinch, goldfinch and chiffchaff. A distant turtle dove calling was a delight. Green woodpecker in the garden was another species which I do not see much of at home.
Simon outlined an area for hoopoe near the Gite. We visited a couple of times and on the last occasion had one fly across the road in front of us.
The nearby black woodpecker site had two visits, on the first visit we obviously marched past the site and walked far further along the canal than needed. However it was really enjoyable with chaffinches fly catching over the water, wren and turtle dove singing. The second visit we easily found the tree but sadly the young had fledged and left the area, there was no calling in the area.
We had a number of turtle doves as we travelled around the area.
Cuckoo's were calling both near the Gite and in many other locations.
Everywhere went there were really good numbers of Hirundines and particularly swifts. In the town centres high numbers would be screaming around the high buildings.
I had 1 target bird, my bogy the bluethroat. The decision was made to visit the Briere marshes and one of the reserves within this massive area of >150 sq miles. We arrived, remembering the place from a visit some years ago.
As we walked onto the reserve and the 1/2km walk to the reserve a kestrel was perched up on a post, 2 posts to the right sat a resplendent male bluethroat - result but too far to photograph. I say resplendent, it was well into moult actually. Other birds around were countless sedge and reed warblers, cetti's shouting out from many bushes. I didn't count the marsh harriers we saw but it must have been into double figures. Great white egret and grey heron also around us. A flyover spoonbill was excellent and turtle dove calling away.
As we approached the reserve entrance, having taken about 45mins to walk the 1/2km I could see massive gates, it was closed and only open 1 July to 31 August. A bird reserve closed at the main time of year!!! A member of staff drove up, wouldn't let us in and said it was due budget cuts!
We decided to try another area and drove into the marsh to Ile de Fedrun passing a field with >50 cattle egrets, grey herons and a sacred ibis. After a superb and leisurely lunch moved onto another reserve, this was manned but was also a commercial enterprise with boat trips. Here we had the terns with whiskered and white-winged blacks around, plus more sacred ibis.
Within the general area where we are staying there seem to be cuckoo's everywhere along with blackcaps and garden warblers. Chiffchaffs also seem to be in every tree. Also turtle dove calling close by but can't find it. Hirundines are everywhere in great numbers.
On walk back, in same area as male bluethroat, we found an immature and spent a good while just enjoying this bird.
The directions seemed difficult but we found the area easily.
There were large numbers of shelduck and 1 bird with a creche of young well into double figures. Waders to be seen were bar-tailed godwits, oystercatcher, curlew and avocet. Also present were little egrets and grey heron. Good numbers of mallard, males going in eclipse. On the sea was a single dark-bellied Brent goose.
In the woodland were the usual species with the addition of great tit, green woodpecker and jay – another species seen frequently in the area.
We moved onto Suscinio, only to be thwarted by the weather, it went black with thunder and lightening and very heavy rain meant a missed occasion.
Another recommended reserve and as we drove up could see the potential. Great looking visitor centre. Sadly hadn't read the info leaflet (in French) and found it didn't open until 14:00 and we were there at 10:00. Luckily the top of the centre was a viewing platform and all the old saltpans can be seen from there with a scope.
Species seen as Duer with the addition of mute swan, gadwall, black-winged stilt, redshank and lapwing.
The whole area has plenty of potential for birding and in Spring a week could be spent visting the various reserves.
As with anything associated with the Gites Simon is willing help and is very knowledgeable about the local birding, all adding to the experience.
Trip to Parc naturel régional de Brière - 13th June
A journey of 1 hr 20 minutes will take you to the Briere nature park, the second largest wetland in Europe, very good and well worth a visit, we had approximately 5 hour's to drive around and a visit to the reserve at Roze produced the following:
White Stork (5) and a nest with 3 Babies, Squacco Heron (3), Marsh harriers good numbers, Little Egrets, Great White Egret (2), Hobby, Kestrel, Whiskered Tern (many), Sacred Ibis, Turtle Dove, Reed Warbler, Cattle Egret (many), Black Kite (at least 2), Fan Tailed Warblers (many), Black Winged Stilt, Common Sand Piper, Ringed Plover, Yellow, Grey and Pied Wagtails, White Spotted Blue Throat (2 males), Cetti's Warbler, Black Necked Grebe, Montague’s Harrier, Coot, Moorhen, Yellow Legged Herring Gull, G B B Gull, B H Gull, Reed Bunting, Mallard, Gadwall, Sparrow, Starling, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Swallow, Swift, House Martin, Grey Leg Geese, Spoonbills, Crow, Grey Herron, Herring Gull, Collard Dove, Wren, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Black Tern (many), White Winged Black Tern (many), Lapwing, Sedge Warblers, Cormorants, Buzzard
Also we saw about 6 Coypu's Adults and Young
Being the first time we have visited the area, would highly recommend
it, along with Sene, Suscinio, Duer, Forest at La Forge, and the Sculpture
Parc at Bignan
Morbihan, Brittany, France, August 4th to August 12th
[some species seen on journey to and from Le Grange Gites – probably half a dozen]
Reserves visited Sene, Suscinio and Duer.
Shag, Alba wagtail, L B B gull, Cormorant, Short toed treecreeper, Goldcrest, Common tern, Green woodpecker, Kestrel, Sandwich tern, Greenfinch, Sanderling, Sacred ibis, Chaffinch, Dunlin, Grey heron, Wren, Turnstone, Little egret, Robin, Ringed plover, Cattle egret, Magpie, Honey buzzard, Coot, Mute swan, Sparrowhawk, Common sandpiper, Great tit, Wheatear, Black winged stilt, Blue tit, Grey wagtail, Lapwing, Long Tailed tit, G S woodpecker, Mallard, White throat, Green sandpiper, Little grebe, Carrion crow, Hobby, G B B gull, Cetti’s warbler, Water rail, Herring gull, Nuthatch, Curlew, Buzzard, Goldfinch, L ringed plover, Fan tailed warbler, Dunnock, Meadow pipit, Sedge warbler, Jackdaw, G crested grebe, Reed warbler, Moorhen, Swift, Willow warbler, Tree Sparrow, Starling, Garden warbler, Yellowhammer, Blackcap, Jay, Chiff chaff, Turtle dove, Reed bunting, Avocet, Stonechat, Black tailed godwit, Blackbird, Wood sandpiper, House sparrow, Spotted red shank, Swallow, Greenshank, House martin, Redshank, Woodpigeon, Marsh harrier, Collared dove, Shelduck, Feral pigeon, Kingfisher