Not far from Calais in the Somme estuary at the Marquenterre reserve
at observation post number 6 are over 165 Spoonbills now gathered from the breeding colonies which had a good year there as in the other sites of colonies in France such as hundreds in the Camargue now with hundreds of Glossy Ibis after a bumper year for both species and in the Loire estuary area
where there are a number of colonies well established including Spanish marked birds which have started breeding there where satellite tracked birds are also monitored. In the Marquenterre at observation post number 6 there are 94 juveniles and 48 adults as well as a number of sub adults and in the colonies there there are still pairs which have only just started to breed including nests with tiny young in them as the Spoonbills nest at different times of the year dependant on age and origns. In July birds from the reserve start to migrate to Africa and Dutch and German birds start to turn up in the Somme estuary on their return to Africa. Small numbers are continually resident like a Crane there.
In Normandy at the Ponts d'Ouves reserve site 8 male Spotted Crakes have been holding territory as well as 65 pairs of White Storks with hundreds of young now after a bumper breeding year at this reserve near Cherbourg of the Cotentin and Bessin Marshes Reserve twinned with the Somerset Levels and Moors Reserve in England but with a larger biodiversity.
he Ponts d'Ouves reserve is opposite St Come du Mont north of Carentan and is a superb reserve with a newly renovated reserve centre close to the Baie des Veys reserve of Beaugillot which is free next to Pouppeville and has an impressive bird list including breeding Bluethroats, Harriers and Bitterns plus Bearded Tits and rare migrants.
Hopefully people will be better informed on French birding with future editions of Bird Watching magazine planning features on French birding hotspots with details from my French top birders on the top sites in Europe in France visited by more tourists annually than any other country in the world in France the biggest country in Western Europe with big mountain chains with brilliant birding potential such as the Alps with big mountains like Mont Blanc where the surrounding area is good for birds like Wallcreepers, Alpine Chough, Snow Finch, gamebirds and raptors plus Woodpeckers of interest and some great natural beauty.
Enjoy your birding in a land of huge biodiversity after reading the forthcoming series in Bird Watching. Land of volcanoes in Auvergne, glaciers in the eastern peaks, the biggest forest in Western Europe near Bordeaux of around a millions hectares in area, and the best booze producing areas in the world filled with birds who want a lifestyle consuming Champagne grapes and nouveaux Beaujolais best when the grapes are consumed young! Rose coloured Starlings enjoy a rosy lifestyle living or grapes from the vineyards and know their Rosey vintages impeccably.
Bertram.E.B.Bree in sunny Jersey.