BRITTANY TRIP REPORT
11th-17th JUNE 2014
OBSERVERS GRAHAM AND DAPHNE DAW
MIKE AND ANNE PASSMAN
Wednesday 11th June
Arrived in Roscoff at 08.00 and made our way to CARANTEC (about 10 miles by road) to overlook the estuary with a low tide waders were easy to pick up – CURLEW, WHIMBREL, BAR-TAILED GODWIT, OYSTERCATCHER – whilst walking closer to get better view of 6 SANDERLING (in sp) Graham found a causeway linking the small town to the ILLE CALLOT.
With the sun shining (as it did for the whole trip – well almost) we managed to see on the island most of the common species. Just as we were getting ready to leave Graham picked up a CRESTED TIT in a pine tree. This was one of the species on our wanted list so a great start to the trip.
Making our way to QUIMPER a picnic lunch by the viewpoint overlooking the ETANG VENEC added TREE PIPIT, STONECHAT, CUCKOO, BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK, 2 HONEY BUZZARD flew over us and finally an elusive DARTFORD WARBLER.
Afternoon stop was by the lake at HULEGOAT with MUTE SWAN and the first SAND MARTINS a short wooded river walk produced a family of GREY WAGTAIL, JAY and NUTHATCH.
By the time we arrived at the Oceania Hotel in Quimper (our base for 4 nights) the species list totalled 56.
Thursday 12th June
In the trees by the Hotel were both BLACKCAP and GARDEN WARBLER.
A short drive to the coast parked by the sand dunes near TRUNVEL (this is one of the premier ringing stations in France particularly noted for the Autumn migration of AQUATIC WARBLER)
Around the lakes/marshes were CORN BUNTING, SEDGE and REED WARBLER, CETTIS WARBLER, SAVI’s WARBLER, REED BUNTING at least 10 MARSH HARRIER. On the lakes 35+ COMMON TERN, GADWALL, 1m TUFTED DUCK, 1 COMMON SCOTER, 30+ MUTE SWAN, 3 BLACK SWAN, 3 CATTLE EGRET, many LITTLE EGRET.
Offshore lots of GANNET, 20+ SANDWICH TERN and 4 LITTLE TERN.
Driving through the lanes to PT DE LA TORCH a BULLFINCH flew over, on the wires by the car park, 2 BEE EATER and nearby the first KESTREL and SONG THRUSH.
Drove down to POINTE DE PENMARCH – high tide with lots of STARLING flocks feeding on the seaweed. 2 ad MEDITERRANEAN GULL on the rocks and a TURNSTONE.
At our evening log call species list now 85.
Friday 13th June
A drive north west to the CAP SIZUN reserve to look at breeding.
GULLS and AUKS – unfortunately only FULMAR, HERRING GULL, SHAG and CORMORANT, no sign of the expected AUKS or CHOUGH. After lunch drove the short distance to POINT DU VAN (much easier to look round than the more famous POINT DU RAZ.) . Here there were over 50 pairs of breeding KITTIWAKE, lots of HERRING GULL, 2 GUILLEMOT offshore, at least 5 CUCKOO and best of all a flock of 11 CHOUGH both seen and heard.
Log call took species list to 91.
Saturday 14th June
A drive to the FOREST OF CANON – a poor result most of the birds had dispersed after breeding – another family party of GREY WAGTAIL and a single MIDDLE SPOTTED WOODPECKED and a few GOLDCREST.
Driving back via the coast only produced GANNET, many SANDWICH TERN, CETTIS WARBLER, STONECHAT, REED BUNTING with 3 CATTLE EGRET flying by.
Species list only up to 93.
Sunday 15th June
After finding last night the Hotel restaurant was closed at weekends made a decision to leave a day early and find a hotel near AUREY.
First site at the GULF DE MORBHAN was the SENE MARSHES – superb site but only open to visitors between 2p.m – 6 p.m.!
Thankfully a tower hide and a drive around the edge of the reserve we managed to pick up all the expected species –Breeding – BLACK WINGED STILT, AVOCET, REDSHANK, COMMON TERN, SHOVELER, other species on site. – BAR-TAILED and BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, LAPWING, GREEN SANDPIPER, lots of HERON and LITTLE EGRET.
In the nearby bushes were a MELODIOUS WARBLER and 4 TURLE DOVE.
The warden there suggested we make our way to DUER MARSHES and WOOD where there is a Tower Hide to provide excellent views over the marshes, MED GULL, 20+ AVOCET, 2 BLACK WINGED STILT, 7 REDSHANK, LAPWING, 50+ COMMON TERN and surprisingly a DB BRENT GOOSE.
In the woods – GREEN WOODPECKER, lots of young TITS and GOLDCREST, 4 LONG TAILED TIT, 2 SPOTTED FLYCATCHER and 2 CRESTED TIT.
Great views of a RED SQUIRREL and WHITE ADMIRAL.
Log call took the species list to 106.
Monday 16th June
A long drive through rural BRITTANY to TREGASTEL PLAGE on the north coast – whilst driving managed to pick up a male CIRL BUNTING, and a CANADA GOOSE.
Lunch taken by the side of the largest lake in France – a flooded valley with barrage at MUR DE BRETAGNE – Here we had NIGHTINGALE, SERIN, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and CRESTED TIT.
Arrival at our Hotel with rooms overlooking the sea.
Log call took species up to 111.
Tuesday 17th June.
Needed to be in ROSCOFF by 13.30 to buy lunch and make for the ferry port by 14.00. An hours seawatching off TREGASTEL produced 500+ GANNET many AUKS, FULMAR, 2 COMMON TERN, a few small flocks of MANX SHEARWATER and a single BALEARIC SHEARWATER.
Whilst eating lunch on the harbour wall at ROSCOFF a ROCK PIPIT moving around and in the bay over 100 OYSTERCATCHER, 30+ LITTLE EGRETS and few CURLEW.
The ferry crossing back to PLYMOUTH was uneventful only GANNETS, FULMAR and GREATER BLACK BACKED GULL recorded probably due to the flat calm sea.
Final log call to the species list to 114, quite a reasonable total for this time of the year.
Notable species that we could’nt locate – SHORT TOED TREE CREEPER, BEARDED TIT, KENTISH PLOVER, PURPLE HERON. As we did’nt manage to get to the large inland lakes missed out on MARSH TERNS and some of the raptors.
Total miles driven were 710 – only once did we have to pay to park – 1E 40 (£1.10) for 4 hours in QUIMPER.
If we have been in England the parking costs would have exceeded £40 as we visited quite a few different places.
Good Company, Good Birds, Food, Wine and superb weather all made it a most memorable week.