If you enjoy birdwatching, Normandy is a great location to see plenty of our feathered friends. You are guaranteed to see plenty of birds when you head out with your binoculars ... or even if you head out without them. There is also a good chance you might see some rarities. We see lots of birds on a daily basis from sparrows, finches and tits to jays, kestrels and buzzards. At night you will more than likely hear owls and should you get up with the rising sun in May and June the dawn chorus is fabulous. This year our breeding swallows were also back. No swallows returned to us 2 years ago and last year some came back but none bred. This year they were back breeding and you had to remember to duck when you went into some of the buildings in case Mum or Dad swooped into you!
|Baby swallows at Eco-Gites of Lenault|
So why is Normandy so good for birds? It is all down to varied habitats, non-intensive farming, low population and it's location on mainland Europe
Habitats in Normandy:
A wide variety of natural habitats will give rise to a large and varied bird population. In Normandy all these habitats are present:
- Coast - dunes, sandy beaches, mud flats
- Farmland with plenty of old farm buildings/derelict houses and a variety of crops
- Some urban areas
In much of the countryside the farming is not intensive. There is not a large input of agricultural chemicals resulting in a healthy level of wild flowers and insects which help bird populations to flourish. Also, because Normandy is on mainland Europe there are some birds here on the northern edge of their range that only very rarely fly across The Channel to Great Britain. Over our time here we have been lucky enough to see 4 really quite rare birds:
Rare Bird Sightings at Eco-Gites of Lenault in Normandy
|Hen Harrier (RSPB image)|
|Black Stork (Wiki)|
|Black Woodpecker (Wiki)|
|Hoopoe (image from avibirds.com)|
Are you a keen birdwatcher and have you seen any unexpected rarities? Please do tell us or you could write up a blog post about your ornithological discoveries and join in in with #AnimalTales.