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The Ile d'Oleron off the west coast of France is an extremely popular area with holidaymakers but there are still several excellent birding areas. A large island, joined to the mainland since the 1960s, the main ornithological interest lies in the marshes, saltpans and mudflats particularly in the north of the island and the northern tip is good for seawatching.
Seabirds to be seen off the Pointe de Chassiron in the north include Northern Gannet, Balearic Shearwater, Leach's Storm Petrel and European Storm Petrel and various skuas, gulls, terns and auks in September and October. Mediterranean Gull occurs in good numbers in winter in the north.
There are many other stretches of mudflats and marshes scattered around the island's coast all of which can provide good birding. Grey Heron and Purple Heron and Little Egret can be found and breeding raptors include Marsh Harrier and Montagu's Harrier, a small number of Short-toed Eagle, Black Kite, Common Buzzard and Common Kestrel.
Species characteristic of the Mediterranean region reaching the Ile d'Oleron in summer include Eurasian Scops Owl, Hoopoe, Crested Lark and Tawny Pipit. Other breeding passerines include warblers such as Zitting Cisticola, Cetti's Warbler and Savi's Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler and Western Bonelli's Warbler.
The Ile d'Oleron is easily reached by road from Marennes on the mainland and as it is a popular holiday destination there is plenty of accommodation.
Birds you can see here include:
Little Grebe, Balearic Shearwater, Leach's Storm Petrel, European Storm Petrel, Great Cormorant, Northern Gannet, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Mute Swan, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Partridge, Common Quail, Common Pheasant, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Sabine's Gull, Little Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Herring Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern, Common Guillemot, Razorbill, Stock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Eurasian Scops Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl, European Nightjar, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Wood Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Common Nightingale, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Common Jay, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, Common Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Cirl Bunting, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting
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Content and images originally posted by Steve