Birdwatching in the southwest of the Brenne, France




Ideal for birdwatchers who want to watch birds in the Brenne: near Bélâbre, a small town in the southwest of the Brenne, is a beautifully renovated 18th century farmhouse run by Geert and Annette Engels: Art de Vivre. You can stay there for bed & breakfast or mini camping. Geert is also a certified nature guide and knows the Brenne very well. He will lead you to the most beautiful places. The southwest of the Brenne is located south of the river Creuse. The landscape changes from sloping to hilly and that brings in another biodiversity. Since the north of the Brenne is not far away, Art de Vivre is an ideal base for your bird holiday in the Brenne. You can read practical information about the north of the Brenne here. To give you an impression of the natural beauty in the southwest, Geert Engels wrote the following article. This article is highly recommended, because in the southwest of the Brenne there are very different birds than in the north. I am of course very grateful to Geert for writing this article. He also made the beautiful photos available. Want to see more photos of Geert? Visit his weblog.

The southwest of the Brenne

In the southwest of the Brenne, the area is sometimes rocky. On the banks of the River Anglin you will find several colonies of Bee-eaters between Concremiers and Ingrandes. From the D53 on the south side of the river you can observe the Bee-eaters in various places. Also Sand Martins build their nests on the banks or in the quarry! Along the Creuse and Anglin you also regularly encounter the Night Heron. This species breeds solitary in the trees in the rivers. In most small villages (Bourg or Hameau) you will find the Eurasian Hoopoe. Everywhere the Nightingale sings. Cirl Bunting and Gray bunting can be found on the telephone lines.

In this area and slightly more to the north between Saint Aigny and Coubernant are several places where Curlew broods. Watch the bare fields. The Montagu`s Harrier also broods in the grain fields in this area. I see them every year.

Do you like orchids then you find some excellent places in the southwest. In the surroundings of the quarry (career) of Le Breuil I photographed more than ten species. Best place is in the surroundings of Fournioux on the D50 to Merigny. You will also pass the climbing rock Roche de Dube, where Peregrine has been breeding for years. When the nest is made on the climbing route, it is not allowed to climb that year. When you are in the area, visit the picturesque town of Angles-sur-Anglin. Wallcreeper has been breeding for years on the ruins. Past the ruin and you will come to the bridge over the Anglin. Here you have a beautiful view over the river. Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail live here. In the southwest of the Brenne also Eurasian Scops Owl breeds and you have a good chance for Woodchat Shrike.

Even more orchids

South of Scoury (on the Creuse) is the village of Oulches situated. On the D32, about a kilometer past the village, you find an old lime quarry. It is now a small reserve where you can see special orchids and butterflies. In the evening light it is great to photograph at this place. Near Rosnay (center of the Brenne, on the D32 towards Ciron) there is a municipal nature reserve where in spring thousands orchids grow. In the town of Poulgny-Saint-Pière in the village of La Boudinière a hiking route starts. Here you will explore a wealth of orchids. Along this route you observe all kinds of songbirds and you have good chance to observe Red Partridge, Gray Bunting, Red-backed Shrike and even Curlew.

Forests

The immense Forêt de La Luzeriase (in the triangle Oulches-Prissac-Chalais) is an ideal place to see wildlife. Here you have good chance to meet a pack of red deer or a group of wild boars. In the second half of September the mating season starts and some 500 red deer visit this place. In spring and summer it is also good to regularly look in the air. Black Stork breed in the forest. Montagu`s Harrier hunts across the fields, Hen Harrier in winter! Osprey has discovered the fish richness of the Brenne. In the past this raptor was only a pioneer, now Osprey has been breeding for several years in the environment of the Creuse and in the Forêt de La Luzeriase. From my terrace I have already photographed Osprey and I filmed them several times.

Further south, the Brenne landscape changes into that of the Limosin. Here you will also find Red Kite. Black Kite breeds here. In this area you can observe Booted eagle too.

Curlew and Little Bustard

Curlew lives in numerous areas in the Brenne. They live on big arable complexes. I enjoy the calling birds every year when I am sitting on my terrace in the evening.

Unfortunately, about 15 years ago Little Bustard disappeared from the Brenne. Now rangers are busy reintroducing this species. Little Bustards are grown in the Haute Touche zoo (northwest Brenne). Some birds have been released in the region of Poitiers. I expect this species will be reintroduced in a few years in the Brenne. Just wait so …

Masses of cranes

In the autumn and spring, sometimes 24,000 cranes arrive in the Brenne. Thousands of these species from the north are wintering in the Brenne. One Crane stays even in summer in the Brenne. Waiting for the first breeding couple.

Bird photography

Since I am a guide, I will show people who have their holiday at Art de Vivre can the best locations for birdwatching in the southwest of the Brenne.

Geert Engels
Art de Vivre
Foto’s Geert Engels

Best spotting scopes for birdwatching:

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birdwatching guide
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A Birdwatching Guide to France North of the Loire