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This area of forest surrounds a huge man-made reservoir, Lac d'Orient, and two smaller waters, Lac de la Temple and Lac d'Amance. These lakes and the Lac du Der Chantecoq to the north-east have become among the most popular winter birding sites in this part of France.
The forest is a Regional Park and lies to the east of the industrial city of Troyes amidst rolling farmland and low wooded hills. Although the 2,300ha lake is popular with watersport enthusiasts there is a 300ha ornithological reserve on the north-eastern side. Water levels vary and are generally lower in autumn and winter thus exposing large areas of mud and wet fields.
Around the lake the land is mixed woodland with areas of farmland and hedgerows. Although there is a good range of breeding birds in the woods and around the lake the main importance of the area lies in the wetland birds attracted on passage and in winter.
White-tailed Eagle and Common Crane are the two species that draw birders from all over Europe to visit the Foret d'Orient. Up to three eagles occur on passage with sometimes five or more wintering around the lake.
The cranes occur on passage in March and again in November and sometimes exceed 12,000 birds with smaller numbers wintering. However, there is a great deal of birding interest in this area in addition to these two species. Great White Egret, Greylag Goose and Tundra Bean Goose winter here alongside Eurasian Wigeon, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck and Common Goldeneye and smaller numbers of other ducks and Bewick's Swan and Whooper Swan.
During passage periods waterfowl occur in greater numbers and variety with as many as 2,000 Bean Goose, 10,000 Mallard, 3,000 Common Teal and 2,500 Common Pochard recorded and smaller numbers of Gadwall, Northern Shoveler and other species. Great Crested Grebe occurs in thousands in autumn sometimes joined by Red-necked Grebe and Slavonian Grebe, waders such as Little Stint and Spotted Redshank and small numbers of Black Tern are regular.
The area is less visited by birders in summer but Black Stork is possible and there are breeding Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebe, Little Bittern and Grey Heron and warblers such as Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler.
Birds you can see here include:
Red-throated Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Great Cormorant, Little Bittern, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Black Stork, Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Velvet Scoter, Smew, Goosander, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Red Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Crane, Northern Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Common Tern, Black Tern, Common Kingfisher, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Common Nightingale, European Stonechat, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Common Jay, Common Magpie, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Crossbill, Common Bullfinch, Hawfinch, Reed Bunting
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
The Foret d'Orient lies about 16km east of Troyes and can be reached on the N19. From the N19 at Lusigny a minor road follows the western shore and there are many viewing points from this road which leads onto the D1 and west into Geraudot. From there take the D43 along the northern edge of the lake for about 4km to a car-park and bird-hide.
The D43 continues southwards along the eastern side of the lake and the marina at Mesnil-St-Pere offers good views over the lake.
Content and images originally posted by Steve