Wednesday, 30 May 2012

France Day 11: More of the Brenne (+Bee-eaters)

Went back into the Brenne again today for a bit of walking and visiting various Etangs, was again a very enjoyable experience with tonnes of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies all showing well. There were many highlights!

First up at a secret location (thanks to a brilliant tip-off) Bee-eater! Or to be more precise, 30(+) Bee-eaters at a breeding colony! In order as to not disturb them we didn't go very close to them at all, therefore the photos below are not great (no surprise there!) but at least you can tell what they are! Such awesome birds!

Bee-eaters (Phone-scoped) 

Bee-eaters (Phone-scoped)

We then went on to an Etang where we walked for a couple of KM to a hide overlooking a Purple Heron colony. This was brilliant and the views we got were great! There was also a male Black-crowned Night Heron and several Little Egrets visible from the hide. Also had a pair of Black-necked Grebe on the lake with 4 Little Ringed Plover looking like they were breeding on some gravel.

Black-necked Grebe (Phone-scoped) 

Purple Heron on nest (young below) (Phone-scoped) 

Purple Heron on nest (young putting head up) (Phone-scoped) 

Spot the Night Heron (Phone-scoped) 

Little Egret (Phone-scoped)

The walk to the hide was fairly productive with tonnes of Western Bonelli's Warblers calling from the woodland. Managed to get a couple of pictures of one showy male.

Western Bonelli's Warbler (Phone-scoped) 

Western Bonelli's Warbler (Phone-scoped)

Later we moved to another couple of Etangs, again it was really hot and it was like getting into an oven on entering the hide.  The Etangs were full of Whiskered Tern, Black-necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe and Coot. Also got a pair of Shoveler, 2 male Black-crowned Night-Heron flew through and 2 Cattle Egret sat on a tree top. Saw a couple of Marsh Harrier hunting the reedbeds and on the drive home found a single Great White Egret in a roadside pool. A highlight was watching an adult Black Kite raiding the Black-headed Gull colony on one of the lakes.

Whiskered Tern (Phone-scoped at distance in the heat haze)

One of the recently fledged Black Redstarts was on the barn roof and the male Common Redstart continues to sing...

Black Redstart (adult) (Phone-scoped)

Black Redstart (Fledgling) (Phone-scoped)

Male Common Redstart still singing away... (Phone-scoped)


  1. Not a birding Holiday then,

  2. haha no Mike, Jenny made me take her non birding for the day!

  3. Hi - Just found your web site. Looking to holiday in the Brenne area- can you offer any help with who you booked with

  4. Hi Mike

    I'd really recommend the Brenne area, we're right at the south, just outside the park (which is a good location in itself) but I think there's accommodation closer to the key birding areas. We booked through Welcome Cottages. We've used them several times in the UK and always been happy with service etc. If you need any more info drop me a line. I'll do a proper trip report when I get back to UK