TRIP REPORT FOR LA BRENNE 10TH JULY 2016 – 18TH JULY 2016 Observers GRAHAM and DAPHNE DAW MIKE and ANNE PASSMAN Left Plymouth on the overnight ferry at 22.00 arriving in Roscoff at 8.00 on 11th July. Breakfast taken at Le Clerc on the outskirts of MORLAIX. Completed the drive to La Confiance arriving at 18.00 after a few stops on the way. Highlights coming into Roscoff were 2 BLAEARIC SHEARWATER, and a few MANX SHEARWATER A PEREGRINE sat on the wall of the docking area. Next highlight was at ANGERS when driving over a river bridge picked up a WHITE STORK circling . Planned route took us from ANGERS along the minor road to SAUMUR along the River LOIRE, birds on the dry area of the river – 150+ COMMON TERN, 50+ LITTLE TERN, 100+ of YELLOW LEGGED GULL, 1 STONE CURLEW, 14 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, 1 COMMON SANDPIPER, 30+ LAPWING, 1 CURLEW, 3 KINGFISHER, 100’s of BLACK HEADED GULL. Birds on the wires between SAUMUR and LA CONFIANCE – 4 TURTLE DOVE, 4 CORN BUNTING, 2 RED BACKED SHRIKE, also 1 Juv BLACK REDSTART, GREEN WOODPECKER and quartering a corn field a female HEN HARRIER. TUESDAY 12th JULY We did an hours walk around the fields by La Confiance which over the week produced some outstanding sighting. This morning – 2 TURTLE DOVE, 1 NIGHTINGALE, 1 SPOTTED FLY, 1 MISTLE THRUSH, 2 CIRL BUNTING, 3 MELODIOUS WARBLER, 1 WHITETHROAT, many BLACKCAP, 1 RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE, 1 GREAT SPOTTED WOODY, LINNET and superb view of a male MONTAGUES HARRIER. Driving to RICOT ETANG – 2 CATTLE EGRET, 10 WHISKERED TERN, REED BUNTING, a NUTHATCH, 1 m YELLOWHAMMER and 2 RED BACKED SHRIKE. Watched ETANG GABRIAU where GRAHAM found a HONEY BUZZARD in a tree with a large nest. 20 RED CRESTED POCHARD, 1 GREAT WHITE EGRET, 5 BLACK NECKED GEESE, 2 PURPLE HERON, LITTLE GREBE, JAY and 4 MISTLE THRUSH. Lunch taken by the side of LA GABRIALLE where over 200 MUTE SWAN, 2 NIGHT HERON, 20 SAND MARTIN, 1st year male MARSH HARRIER, 1 BLACK TERN several BLACK KITE and BUZZARD over. Next ETANG visited was PURAIS where we picked up a male GARGANEY, 100+ WHISKERED TERN, 10 RED CRESTED POCHARD, 2 m POCHARD and 1 m GADWALL. Next site visited was our small pool near LES BERGERAUX, again over the week the best site for waders – today – 5 GREEN SANDPIPER, 7 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, also 1 f MARSH HARRIER, 3 GREAT WHITE EGRET and 3 Juv YELLOW WAGTAIL. Final visit of the day to the quarry at DUCTALLE – 10 MISTLE THRUSH, 3 YELLOWHAMMER, 3 RED BACKED SHRIKE, 1 PURPLE HERON, 3 TURTLE DOVE, 1m and 1 Juv BLACK REDSTART and just 1 target bird BEE EATER. WEDNESDAY 13TH JULY Pre breakfast walk produced 2 ICTERINE WARBLER, 1 m 1 f HEN HARRIER First visit to CISTUDE HIDE where REED WARBLER, nesting – 30+ CATTLE EGRET, 10 LITTLE EGRET, 2 NIGHT HERON, 2 PURPLE HERON plus 3 young. 30+ WHISKERED TERN over the water. At ETANG MASSE at least 50 nesting LITTLE and CATTLE EGRET, 2 GREAT WHITE EGRET, 7 HERON, 1 Juv NIGHT HERON, 8 CORMORANT, 1 f MARSH HARRIER, many GREAT CRESTED GREBE. At ETANG BLIZON – 2 BITTERN, 3 BLACK KITE, 1 COMMON TERN and 1 GARDEN WARBLER. After lunch a visit to ETANG FOUCOULT – Many of the reserves visited had a lot more water than last year consequently no breeding waders. Another RED BACKED SHRIKE and sat on a bale of hay very good views of a SHORT TOED EAGLE (there are only a few pairs in LA BRENNE) On our way back stopped off at the wader pool, tonight 6 GREEN SANDPIPER, 26 LAPWING, 1 RUFF, 1 COMMON SANDPIPER, 6 GREAT WHITE EGRET, 2 HERON, 2 YELLOW WAGTAIL. THURSDAY 14TH JULY Early morning walk produced a calling male GOLDEN ORIOLE, 1 HEN HARRIER, 4 STONE CURLEW, 3 RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE. First visit to SOUS HIDE where GRAHAM found a male LITTLE BITTERN sat in the reeds, a female MARSH HARRIER, 2 PURPLE HERON, 3 CATTLE EGRET, many WHISKERED TERN, 3 REDSHANK flew in and landed on the Lily Pads. By the car park good views of a male GOLDEN ORIOLE. Near ROSNEY – Another pair of RED BACKED SHRIKE, CORN and CIRL BUNTING. Lunch by the river at CIRON produced a GREY WAGTAIL, 3 SERIN our first ROBIN, 3 RED BACKED SHRIKE, a PURPLE HERON standing in the river. Visit to ETANG MER ROUGE – 3 GREAT WHITE EGRET, 1 KINGFISHER, 2 BLACK KITE and 2 GREYLAG GOOSE. Visit to the wader pool – 3 REDSHANK (presumably same birds seen earlier at SOUS), 2 GREEN SANDPIPER , 6 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, 2 LAPWING, 2 BLACK KITE and 2 GREAT WHITE EGRET. Trip list up to 109 species FRIDAY 15TH JULY Our early morning walk was probably the most eventful of the week, just one of the mornings that will never be forgotten. At 8.15 we picked up a bird of prey sat on some dead branches at the top of a large tree about 300 yards away. Scope view readily confirmed an unmistakeable BLACK SHOULDERD KITE. Watched the bird until 09.00 during which time flew briefly always returning to the same perch. The nearest breeding sites are in the far south west corner of France. News put out to a few local birders was confirmed this was the first sighting for 2016 and they usually get between 2 and 4 sightings a year. At the dung heap 2 YELLOW WAGTAIL, 4 WHITE WAGTAIL. A walk to ETANG ESSERTS produced 6 RED BACKED SHRIKE, 1 SPARROWHAWK, 2 BLACK KITE, 2 NIGHT HERON, 1 NUTHATCH, 1 BLACK NECKED GREBE and 3 young. At LA GABRIELLE and GABRIAU, COOT count was in excess of 4000! On our way to the water pool our only PHEASANT of the trip and our first HOOPOE. At the pool 9 BLACK KITE, 1 HOBBY, 210 LAPWING, 5 GREEN SANDPIPER and 3 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER. Whilst having dinner in the garden, 2 STONE CURLEW, TURTLE DOVE and CIRL BUNTING. Overnight a TAWNY OWL calling. Trip list up to 115. SATURDAY 16TH JULY Early morning walk produced the only CUCKOO of the trip. Morning visit to the wader pool produces our only record of 2 BLACK WINGED STILT, 6 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, 2 GREEN SANDPIPER, 1 COMMON SANDPIPER, 3 GREAT WHITE EGRET. At LE BLANC over 100 SWIFT, 3 GREY WAGTAIL and 2 SERIN. A drive to another lunch stop by the river at COMCREMIERS we found 6 BEE EATER (in the same tree as last year!) 10 CATTLE EGRET, 3 GREY WAGTAIL, 3 SONG THRUSH and a KINGFISHER. At the wader pool and nearly lake, 8 LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, 5 GEEN SANDPIPER, 2 BLACK WINGED STILT (still) 20 SAND MARTIN, 1 m RED BLACKED SHIRKE. In the distance picked up 6 BEE EATER by the DUCTELLE QUARRY. Trip list now 116. SUNDAY 17TH JULY Time to start our journey back to ROSCOFF – picked up 2 new species – A MIDDLE SPOTTED WOODY and 2 TREE PIPIT. At 17.00 drove along the minor road along the MORLAIX estuary – 50+ REDSHANK, 25 LITTLE EGRET, 60+ roosting flock of WHIMBREL and CURLEW. Amongst a flock of GULLS were 35 MEDITERRANEAN GULL and a surprise in the form of a DB BRENT GOOSE and 9 SHELDUCK. At ROSCOFF – 2 ROCK PIPIT, 3 OYSTERCATCHER and heard from GRAHAMS bedroom PARAQUETS calling. Trip list no 125 species MONDAY 18TH JULY After visiting a local LE CLERC for stocking up on Wine and Cheese, drove to SANTEC (a Bay near ROSCOFF) which produced 4 SHAG, 20 GANNET,1 SANDWICH TERN and 2 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL. Ferry crossing was uneventful apart from 2 FULMAR until we were above 3 miles off PLYMOUTH SOUND, flocks of over 200 MANX SHEARWATER with 2 SOOTY SHEARWATER (very close views) and finally 6 AUK species.
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