© Simon Bourcier
Best bird‑watching sites in Brittany? Six top spots for a high-flying spectacle

Best bird‑watching sites in Brittany?

Brittany is a paradise for ornithologists with the flight of migratory birds, the take-off of sea birds, the ballet of small wading birds on the coast or in natural reserves providing an ongoing spectacle. You will find below a list of the best lookouts.

On the path of migratory birds

In Ouessant

Settle yourself on a rock, binoculars in hands, eyes fixed on the ocean! On the waters off Ouessant, you can observe, from October to April, the impressive flights of the Northern gannet, the razorbills or of the common guillemot. Beside being a prime bird-watching location, the island is also the preferred habitat of many sea birds. In fact, it hosts a couple of northern fulmars! Other species also nest in its coastal cliffs; from the omnipresent Eurasian wren to the more elusive common grasshopper warbler. Near the coast, the short grasslands are the favourite food source of the red-billed chough.  Why not meet under the lighthouse in Créac’h on a foggy night. It attracts swarms of passerine birds!

 

Ouessant: a top bird-watching location


A paradise for water birds

The marais of Séné

530 hectares of mudflats, salt marshes, salt drying flats and wetlands: this is an ideal playground for water birds! Up to 200 species of them have been recorded in the marais de Séné (Séné marshes) deep inside the Golfe of Morbihan. Black-winged stilts, pied avocets and bluethroats regularly nest there. Eurasian spoonbills, curlew sandpipers with their long curved beaks and wood sandpipers also use it as a migratory stopover site. Each season brings its own surprises! You can observe this fauna by joining a guided tour or independently.

 

PNR Golfe du Morbihan 


A top winter destination

In the Baie of Saint-Brieuc

In the winter months, no less that 40,000 birds from 112 different species can be found in the Baie of Saint-Brieuc. The majority of them are migratory birds who either overwinter there or make a single stopover. The sedentary birds which are routinely found in this area are the Eurasian oystercatcher and numerous passerine birds such as the Eurasian skylark, the water pipit and the common linnet. At low tide, the foreshore provides them with an abundant source of food. At high tide, the Guettes and Grouin peninsulas are ideal spots for observing pelagic birds. In the air, you will find great gliders such as Northern gannets, puffins and skuas whilst on the waters, divers such as scoters, red-breasted mergansers or razorbills reign supreme.

 

Reserve of la baie of Saint-Brieuc

 


Kingdom of the Northern gannet

The Sept-îles archipelago

The Northern gannet has its own kingdom! The Sept-Îles archipelago, in the Côtes-d’Armor, is even the only nesting ground in France of this elegant white feather bird. It shares its habitat with the friendly Atlantic puffin which is as symbolic as its counterpart but even rarer to observe. It is possible to get closer to them by boat from Perros-Guirrec. Board Denis’ boat called “Le Saint Guirec” to discover these protected species. On the coast, the granite of Castel Erek provides a refuge for the Eurasian oystercatcher and other small wading birds. Further to the west, large black cormorants and white terns squat the islands off the baie Morlaix; another top ornithologist destination situated on Brittany’s northern coastline.

 

Natural reserve of Sept-îles


A stork’s den

The Marais of Brière

White feathers, black wingtips, red beak and legs, the white stork stands out in the Marais of Brière! From the top of the electric pylons where she nests, she has a prime view over the flooded lands; its favourite hunting ground. The bluethroat, the black turn, the Savi’s warbler, the Eurasian spoonbill and the great bittern are all emblematic species which reproduce in the Regional Natural Park of Brière. Eight sign-posted courses enable you to get even closer to the ornithological wonders of the site. Best to visit early in the morning or late at night!

 

Bird-watching in the Regional Natural Park of Brière


A hotbed of rare species

Le Cap Sizun

Beware, rare birds ahead! It is between the heath lands, the marshes and the cliffs of the Cap-Sizun reserve that you will have the best chances in Brittany of observing the common raven, the red-billed chough or even the peregrine falcon. These remarkable species live there all year round. Every Spring, the high granite cliffs are transformed into nurseries for sea birds such as the back-legged kittiwake, the common guillemot, the Northern fulmar or for coastal species such as the common shag, the European herring gull or the lesser black-backed gull. A path enables you to observe, close up, birds nesting on their eggs or feeding their young. Don’t make a sound!

 

The reserve of Cap Sizun

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