Birdwatching

and wildlife tourism

in France

#lowcarbonbirding

exotic birding just across the channel…

 

France has a wealth of birds and other species

250
butterflies

4750
moths

580
birds

160
orchids

35
reptiles

34
bats

Come by train and discover exotic #lowcarbonbirding
opportunities in the French regional parks…

Introduction by

DOMINIC COUZENS

It might seem like a hop across the Channel to France, but as far as wildlife is concerned, it’s a leap. The moment you set foot on the continent, there are more species of birds, many more butterflies, more frogs and lizards, and profusions of dragonflies, mammals and moths simply not seen on our islands. France is the gateway to exotic flamingos, bee-eaters, golden orioles and many more, with corners boasting large populations of turtle doves, red-backed shrikes and cirl buntings, a throwback to a rural Britain long past.

France is a country of hidden corners and byways, bespattered with barely known wildlife hotspots. It’s easy to find your own secret orchid field or glade with purple emperors. And then, replete with wildlife, you can retire to a sunlit boulevard to enjoy a glass of wine or a coffee with a treat from the patisserie. What are you waiting for?

- Dominic Couzens

Spotlight on birding in…

The Alpilles regional park

The Alpilles is a remarkable yet little known inland birdwatching area bordering the Camargue and the Crau. Craggy limestone escarpments and historic ruins are home to many sought after species including Wallcreeper in the winter months, Egyptian vulture in the summer and Bonelli’s eagle all year round…

 

 

The Boucles de la Seine Normande regional park

The Seine river makes several large meanders over a flat, alluvial plain before flowing into the crique de Rouen and the Atlantic Ocean. Not far to travel from the south of England, it does however have quite a few breeding species or birds that are absent or hard to find in Britain yet relatively common here including Golden oriole, Bluethroat, Lesser spotted woodpecker and White stork.

 

 

The Brenne regional park

“Land of a thousand lakes”. A trip to the Brenne, in central France, is like taking a step backwards in time. The small country roads have little traffic and a stop on the side of one, almost anywhere, allows for the observation of interesting wildlife.

The Camargue regional park

The Camargue is the extensive delta of the Rhone river where it meets the Mediterranean. Internationally renowned for the birds that occur, and rightly so! Probably best known for its Flamingo colony, the only regular nesting site in Western Europe and a species you are bound to see. Winter sees the arrival of many waterfowl, including thousands of Red-crested Pochard, with accompanying predators – Spotted Eagle occurs annually.

The Forêt d'Orient regional park

Within easy reach of Paris, the Forêt d’Orient lakes may not be as well known as their sister lake, the “Lac du Der”, but they too have Cranes occurring in large numbers during the winter months with the peak during migration in November and February. Black Stork are another top species, which occur in good numbers in September, whereas Middle-spotted woodpecker are a resident species.

 

 

 

The Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin regional park

A very unspoilt part of France, the park covers much of the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy. The area away from the coast consists mainly of low-lying, flat water meadows, with much of the grazed area becoming flooded in winter. Many species to see with a few that are of particular interest: White Stork, Bluethroat, Melodious, Savi’s and Fan-tailed Warblers among others. The coast can be very productive with large numbers of waders from August to April.

 

 

 

The Narbonnaise regional park

On the Mediterranean coast and not far from the Pyrenees, the varied habitats of salt pans, lagoons, marshes, garrigue and limestone escarpments provide for a great variety of species including Flamingo, Bonelli’s eagle, Eagle owl, Kentish plover, Slender-billed gull, Thekla lark… and a few that only occur in this corner of the country: Pallid swift and Spotless starling.

Great birding in 9 French regional parks…

Alpilles

 

Birding France - All about birding in the French parks
  • Climate zone: Mediterranean
  • Geography:
    • Limestone escarpments
    • Olive groves and orchards
  • Birding highlights:
    • Wallcreeper
    • Egyptian vulture
    • Bonelli’s eagle
  • MORE INFORMATION…

Boucles de la Seine Normande

Birding in the Boucles de Seine Normande
  • Climate zone: Atlantic
  • Geography:
    • River and wetlands
    • Meadows and reed beds
  • Birding highlights:
    • Bluethroat
    • White stork
    • Lesser spotted woodpecker
  • MORE INFORMATION…

Brenne

 

Birding France - All about birding in the French parks
  • Climate zone: Continental
  • Geography:
    • Lakes and marshes
    • Meadows and mixed woodland
  • Birding highlights:
    • Whiskered tern
    • Squacco heron
    • Bee-eater 
  • MORE INFORMATION…

Camargue

 

Birding France - All about birding in the French parks

Climate zone: Mediterranean

  • Geography:
    • Coastal lagoons & salt pans
    • Meadows and river banks
  • Birding highlights:
    • Flamingo (only breeding site in France)
    • Moustached warbler
    • Slender-billed gull
  • MORE INFORMATION…

Forêt d’Orient

 

Birding France - All about birding in the French parks
  •  Climate zone: Continental
  • Geography:
    • Lakes and marshes
    • Mixed woodland and hedgerows
  • Birding highlights:
    • White-tailed eagle
    • Common crane
    • Middle-spotted woodpecker
  • MORE INFORMATION…

Golfe du Morbihan

 

Birding France - All about birding in the French parks
  • Climate zone: Atlantic
  • Geography:
    • Coastal islands and inlets
    • Meadows and woodland
  • Birding highlights:
    • Kentish plover
    • Fan-tailed warbler
    • Mediterranean gull
  • MORE INFORMATION

Haut-Languedoc

 

Birding France - All about birding in the French parks
  • Climate zone: Mediterranean/Continental
  • Geography:
    • Steep-sided rocky gorges
    • High plateaux and lakes
  • Birding highlights:
    • Griffon vulture
    • Blue rock-thrush
    • Continental dipper
  • MORE INFORMATION…

Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin

Birding France - All about birding in the French parks
  • Climate zone: Atlantic
  • Geography:
    • Coastal dunes
    • Flooded meadows and marshes
  • Birding highlights:
    • White stork
    • Bluethroat
    • Savi’s warbler
  • MORE INFORMATION…

Narbonnaise en Méditerranée

Birding France - All about birding in the French parks
  •  Climate zone: Mediterranean
  • Geography:
    • Coastal lagoons and reed beds
    • Vineyards and limestone outcrops
  • Birding highlights:
    • European roller
    • Lesser kestrel
    • Blue rock thrush
  • MORE INFORMATION…

Find the best birding in France…

Key

-> Scroll on the map to zoom in/out
-> Click on a  green pin to see the name of the  park
-> Click on a pink pin to see the Eurostar stations