• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Central France Campervan Trip (1 Viewer)

Day 22: 11/06

Saint Jean sur Mayenne

Tawny Owl early morning
Singing Firecrest at the campsite

Red Deer in field on opposite side of the river

Then drove roughly 50km due north east to the next stop - a free 'aire' next to a small lake. Some good circular walks around nearby areas produced a few good birds, including Honey Buzzard, 2 Male Red-backed Shrikes and a couple of Woodlarks:

Etang des Perles (and surrounding areas)

Jay, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Crested Grebe, Swallow, Mallards, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Starlings, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Green Woodpecker, Woodpigeon, Common Buzzards, Collared Dove, House Sparrows, Melodious Warblers, Cirl Buntings, Rooks, Short-toed Treecreeper, 2 Woodlarks, Stonechats, White Wagtails, Black Redstarts, Carrion Crows, Common Whitethroat, Linnets, 2 male Red-backed Shrikes, Wren, Skylark, Honey Buzzard, Magpie, Kestrel, Garden Warbler, Nuthatch, Cuckoo, Goldfinch, Swift

Small Heath butterflies
Marsh Frogs
Roe Deer
Day 23: 12/06

A day of several unexpected and very welcome surprises. Firstly, an early morning stroll around the Etang des Perles yielded 3 Hawfinches, including one perched in a tree. Three or four singing Wood Warblers when I stopped at a Foresr, en-route. A visit to the Reserve de la Grande Noë produced a pair of Black-necked Grebes and an Otter plus lots of Mediterranean Gulls and Common Terns. A nearby roadside was covered in Lizard Orchids. A Honey Buzzard circled quite low near quite a built-up area. The best, however, was discovering 3 singing Marsh Warblers in an overgrown swampy area about half a mile from where I'm staying tonight. One of the Marsh Warblers showed very well this evening. Full list of species below:

Etang des Perles

Just a quick walk around the lake first thing:

3 Hawfinches, Cuckoo, Spotted Flycatcher, Nuthatch, Cirl Bunting, GC Grebe, Mallard, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Moorhen, Blue Tits, Chaffinches, Great Tits, Common Buzzards, Song Thrush, Kingfisher, Swifts


Then drove due north west, stopping briefly at:

Foret Domaniale du Perche

Cuckoo, Marsh Tit, Wood Warblers, Chiffchaff, Nuthatch, Chaffinches, Blackbird, Blackcap, Turtle Dove, Jays, Coots, singing Firecrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Short-toed Treecreeper, Mistle Thrush, Stock Dove, Carrion Crow, Wren, Robin, Wood Pigeon

Marsh Frogs

And a little village called Les Aspres

Les Aspres

Cuckoo, Serin, Collared Dove, Chaffinches, Chiffchaff, House Sparrows, Black Redstart, Swifts, Swallows, Linnets, Mallard, Woodpigeon, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Starling, Greenfinch, Maggie, Jay, Goldfinch, Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, Common Buzzard, Blackcap, Yellowhammer, Common Whitethroat, Melodious Warblers, Garden Warbler, GS Woodpecker, Kestrel

Before heading north towards the Seine estuary in Normandy, staying this evening in a free 'aire' at Le Vaudreuil:

Le Vaudreuil, Val de Reuil and Reserve de la Grande Noë

Black Redstart, Common Whitethroats, Honey Buzzard, Melodious Warblers, Jackdaw, Collared Dove, House Sparrows, BH Gull, Chaffinches, Swifts, Chiffchaffs, Blackbirds, Magpie, 2 Hobbies, Woodpigeon, Starlings, Turtle Dove, Swallows, Mistle Thrush, Cormorants, Cattle Egret, Mute Swans, Common Terns, 20+ Mediterranean Gulls, Pochards, Tufted Ducks, GC Grebes, 2 Black-necked Grebes, Grey Heron, Coots, Cuckoo, YL Gull, Common Buzzard, Long-tailed Tit, Gadwall, Canada Geese, Garden Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Stonechats, Marsh Tit, Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Grey Wagtail, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Goldfinches, Blackcaps, 3 Marsh Warblers.

Marsh Frogs
Small Heath
Pyramidal Orchids
Lizard Orchids
Last edited:
Day 24: 13/06

Spent the morning around the Val de Reuil and the fantastic reserve de la Grande Noé again. Quite a few Nightingales still in song plus a Willow Warbler (new for the trip). Then moved on to Bardouville, where I'm staying tonight. This is a great free 'aire' in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields and mixed Woodlands with open heath-like habitat similar to that found in parts of the New Forest (but without all the dog-walkers). Stunning views of several Nightjars, perched and in flight this evening. The road journey to get here along the 'Boucles de la Seine' was also quite stunning.

Le Vaudreuil, Val de Reuil and Reserve de la Grande Noë:

Black Redstarts, Mediterranean Gulls, Wrens, Collared Doves, Swifts, Grey Wagtail, Melodious Warblers, Marsh Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Common Whitethroats, Green Woodpecker, Blackbird, BH Gull, Blackcaps, Great Tit, Cormorants, Mallard, Moorhen, Chaffinch, Linnets, Cuckoo, Cattle Egrets, Skylarks, Long-tailed Tits, Black-necked Grebes, Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, Coots, Red Crested Pochards, Common Terns, 3+ Black Kites, Little Egret, Jay, Nightingales, Short-toed Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Cetti's Warbler, Common Buzzard, Garden Warbler, Swifts, Mute Swans, Starlings, Grey Herons, Hobby, Canada Geese, Sand Martin, Stone Curlew (heard only), GBB Gull, YL Gulls, White Wagtail, Turtle Doves, Blue Tits, Robins, Dunnock, Common Redstart, Stonechat, Lapwings, Kestrel, Swallows, singing Willow Warbler


Bardouville, in the Parc Narurel de Boucles de la Seine:

Cuckoos, Chiffchaffs, Chaffinch, Robin, Tree Pipits, Common Redstarts, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatchers, Robin, Blackbird, Golden Orioles, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrushes, Wrens, Stonechats, Common Buzzard, Common Whitethroat, Hobby, Linnet, Melodious Warbler, Marsh Tit, Garden Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper, White Wagtail, Woodpigeons, Pheasant, Jay, Kestrel, Blackbirds, 3 Grey Herons, Green Woodpecker, GS Woodpecker, House Martins, 4+ Nightjars, Tawny Owl,

1 huge Bat plus some smaller ones

Emperor Dragonfly
Last edited:
Day 25: 14/06

It's beautiful weather over here at the moment. A nice morning walk around the woodlands around Bardouville produced a nice selection of birds including a perched Honey Buzzard, 3 Golden Orioles, Turtle Dove, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and 4 Hawfinches. Moving further downstream towards the Seine estuary in the afternoon / evening yielded 3 White Storks, 3 singing Marsh Warblers and 4 singing Bluethroats.


Starlings, Tree Pipits, White Wagtail, Common Redstarts, Chiffchaffs, Golden Orioles, Common Buzzard, GS Woodpecker, Cuckoos, Willow Warblers, Pheasant, Garden Warbler, Mistle Thrushes, Shoŕt-toed Treecreeper, Honey Buzzard, Wren, Stonechat, Common Whitethroat, Melodious Warbler, Linnets, Dunnock, Robin, Turtle Dove, Hobby, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kestrel, Jay, Swifts, 4 Hawfinches,

2 Hares

Nearby - 3 Cattle Egrets

Industrial gravel pit complex - access looks difficult. The parts that are visible seemed only to have Coots and Mute Swans.

Drove to Quillebeuf sur Seine where I'm staying in another free 'aire'. There is heavy industry on the other side of the river, including refineries and chemical works so there are noises and chemical smells. The walk downstream towards Tancarville bridge is rewarding, though. Not much on the estuary itself, apart from Gulls, but plenty on the landward side:

Quillebeuf sir Seine - Tancarville bridge:

Greenfinch, Goldfinches, Swifts, Swallows, Sand Martins, YL Gulls, Linnets, House Sparrows, House Martins, Collared Doves, White Wagtail, Herring Gulls, LBB Gulls, Common Buzzard, Starlings, Common Whitethroat, Blackcaps, Woodpigeon, Little Egrets, Blue Tits, Reed Warblers, Cetti's Warbler, Cattle Egrets, Cormorant, Moorhen, Mute Swans, Rooks, Carrion Crow, GBB Gull, Melodious Warblers, Chiffchaff, Jackdaws, Yellowhammers, Grey Herons, Zitting Cisticola, Stonechats, Nightingales, Sedge Warbler, Dunnock, Shelduck, Mallards, Kestrel, BH Gulls, Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Chaffinches, 3 White Storks, Coots, Magpies, 3 Marsh Warblers, Grasshopper Warbler, 4 singing Bluethroats

Marsh Frogs
Pyramidal Orchids
Day 26 : 15/06

Morning walk towards Tancarville was productive again with several Marsh Warblers and 5 singing Bluethroats plus one apparent juvenile. A Muskrat walked right in front of me -within about a foot, completely oblivious.

Quillebeuf sir Seine - Tancarville bridge

Starlings, Sand Martins, Skylark, Little Egret, Linnets, Cuckoo, Marsh Warblers, Cetti's Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Reed Warblers, Yellowhammer, Dunnock, Wren, Woodpigeon, Grey Heron, Rook, Melodious Warblers, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Nightingales, White Wagtail, House Sparrows, Zitting Cisticola, Bluethroats, Sedge Warbler, Common Buzzards, Song Thrush, White Storks, Mute Swans, GBB Gulls, Cattle Egrets, Cormorants, Carrion Crow, 2 Gadwall, Stonechats, Coots, Blue-headed Wagtail, Jackdaws, Kestrel, Corn Bunting, Whinchats, Mediterranean Gull, Shelducks, Swifts, Herring Gulls


Then drove on to Saint Pierre Benouville

Saint Pierre Benouville - a free aire with hot showers!!! Not as many birds here but I did add Goldcrest to the trip list 😁

Black Redstart, Blackbird, Common Buzzards, Collared Dove, Swallows, Swift, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, White Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Chaffinches, Skylark, Herring Gull, Corn Bunting, Goldcrest,
Day 27: 16/06

Added 3 trip ticks today - Grey Partridge near Saint Pierre Benouville plus Fulmar and Sandwich Tern on the coast near Hautot sur Mer:

Saint Pierre Benouville

House Sparrows, Woodpigeon, Black Redstarts, Wrens, Serin, Short-toed Treecreeper, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Swifts, House Martins, Swallows, Magpies, Linnet, Dunnock, Collared Dove, Starlings, Stock Dove, Common Whitethroat, Mistle Thrush, Blue Tit, Blackcap, White Wagtail, Skylarks, Carrion Crow, Rooks, Yellow Wagtail, Corn Buntings, Grey Partridge, Herring Gull, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Song Thrush, LBB Gull, Spotted Flycatchers, Jay, Goldcrests, Great Spotted Woodpecker


Hautot sur Mer, Pourville Plage

Black Redstart, White Wagtail, Swift, GBB Gull, Herring Gull, Cormorants, Zitting Cisticola, House Sparrows, Sandwich Tern, 2 Fulmars, Kestrel, Jackdaw, House Martins, Sand Martins, Cetti's Warbler, Swallows,
Day 28: 17/06

My final day in France and it's been roasting hot here. Added Peregrine and Rock Pipit to the trip list:

Hautot sur Mer, Pourville Plage

Cetti's Warbler, Blackbird, Herring Gull , Sedge Warbler, White Wagtail, House Sparrows, Cormorants, Jackdaws, Zitting Cisticola, GBB Gull, Black Redstart, Collared Dove, Wren, Linnet, Reed Warblers, Swallows, BH Gulls, LBB Gull, Grey Heron, Starlings, Yellow-legged Gull, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Swifts, Moorhen, Peregrine, Kestrel

Dieppe Ferry terminal

Rock Pipit, Black Redstart, Skylark, Linnet, House Sparrows
Day 29: 18/06

Got back home just before 08:00 this morning.

Saw 5 Ring-necked Parakeets fly over the motorway near Heathrow plus 3 Red Kites on the way back.

A total of 1621 miles covered, door-to-door, over 29 days.

The total trip list stands at 151 (or 152 if you include Feral Pigeon).

The approximate route taken in France is shown in the attached, give or take a few detours and excursions:


  • Screenshot_20220617-133301_Maps.jpg
    579.3 KB · Views: 31
Final List:

1. Mute Swan
2. Greylag
3. Canada Goose
4. Shelduck
5. Mallard
6. Gadwall
7. Shoveler
8. Pochard
9. Red-crested Pochard
10. Tufted Duck
11. Red-legged Partridge
12. Grey Partridge
13. Pheasant
14. Quail
15. Great Crested Grebe
16. Little Grebe
17. Black-necked Grebe
18. Fulmar
19. Gannet
20. Cormorant
21. Night Heron
22. Cattle Egret
23. Little Egret
24. Great White Egret
25. Grey Heron
26. Purple Heron
27. Glossy Ibis
28. Sacred Ibis
29. White Stork
30. Black Stork
31. Spoonbill
32. Short-toed Eagle
33. Red Kite
34. Black Kite
35. Marsh Harrier
36. Hen Harrier
37. Montagu's Harrier
38. Common Buzzard
39. Honey Buzzard
40. Sparrowhawk
41. Kestrel
42. Hobby
43. Peregrine
44. Water Rail
45. Corncrake
46. Moorhen
47. Coot
48. Little Bustard
49. Black-winged Stilt
50. Stone Curlew
51. Little Ringed Plover
52. Ringed Plover
53. Lapwing
54. Redshank
55. Curlew
56. Common Sandpiper
57. Mediterranean Gull
58. Black-headed Gull
59. Kittiwake
60. Herring Gull
61. Yellow-legged Gull
62. Lesser Black-backed Gull
63. Great Black-backed Gull
64. Sandwich Tern
65. Little Tern
66. Common Tern
67. Whiskered Tern
68. Stock Dove
69. Woodpigeon
70. Collared Dove
71. Turtle Dove
72. Cuckoo
73. Tawny Owl
74. Little Owl
75. Nightjar
76. Swift
77. Hoopoe
78. Kingfisher
79. Bee-eater
80. Green Woodpecker
81. Great Spotted Woodpecker
82. Middle Spotted Woodpecker
83. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
84. Skylark
85. Crested Lark
86. Woodlark
87. Sand Martin
88. Swallow
89. House Martin
90. Tree Pipit
91. Rock Pipit
92. White Wagtail
93. Blue-headed Wagtail / Yellow Wagtail
94. Grey Wagtail
95. Dunnock
96. Robin
97. Nightingale
98. Bluethroat
99. Common Redstart
100. Black Redstart
101. Whinchat
102. Stonechat
103. Song Thrush
104. Mistle Thrush
105. Blackbird
106. Garden Warbler
107. Blackcap
108. Common Whitethroat
109. Lesser Whitethroat
110. Dartford Warbler
111. Sedge Warbler
112. Reed Warbler
113. Marsh Warbler
114. Zitting Cisticola
115. Grasshopper Warbler
116. Savi's Warbler
117. Melodious Warbler
118. Wood Warbler
119. Western Bonelli's Warbler
120. Chiffchaff
121. Firecrest
122. Goldcrest
123. Wren
124. Spotted Flycatcher
125. Great Tit
126. Blue Tit
127. Crested Tit
128. Marsh Tit
129. Long-tailed Tit
130. Nuthatch
131. Short-toed Treecreeper
132. Red-backed Shrike
133. Magpie
134. Jay
135. Jackdaw
136. Rook
137. Carrion Crow
138. Starling
139. Golden Oriole
140. House Sparrow
141. Hawfinch
142. Chaffinch
143. Linnet
144. Goldfinch
145. Greenfinch
146. Serin
147. Reed Bunting
148. Yellowhammer
149. Cirl Bunting
150. Corn Bunting
151. Ring-necked Parakeet


Red Deer
Roe Deer
Wild Boar
Beech Marten
Red Squirrel
Bat Spp.
Finally getting around to adding a few photos (I tried a few times during the trip but didn't seem to want to attach for some reason):

1. Bee-eater near Tournon Saint Martin
2. Night Heron La Brenne (near Cherine)
3. Wild Boar with young at Etang de la Mer Rouge (near Douadic, La Brenne)


  • 20220726_121502.jpg
    891.9 KB · Views: 7
  • 20220726_121331.jpg
    1.9 MB · Views: 7
  • 20220726_121727.jpg
    2.5 MB · Views: 7
4. Cattle Egret at Briollay
5. Etang de la Mer Rouge in La Brenne
6. The river Creuse at Le Blanc


  • 20220726_122517.jpg
    5.5 MB · Views: 7
  • 20220726_122608.jpg
    8.5 MB · Views: 7
  • 20220726_122656.jpg
    3.3 MB · Views: 6
7 and 8. The Chateau and surrounds of the old citadel at Montreuil Bellay - a very pretty place.
9. A Turtle Dove at the municipal 'aire' at Montreuil Bellay (very poor phone shot through bins)


  • 20220726_123115.jpg
    6.9 MB · Views: 5
  • 20220726_123147.jpg
    7.7 MB · Views: 5
  • 20220726_123235.jpg
    690.4 KB · Views: 5
10. Large Tortoiseshell at Marais Poitevin
11. Marshland near Ile de Fedrun, Briere Marshes, Loire Atlantique.
12. Lizard Orchid near the reserve de Grande Noë, Normandy.

That will do for now - might add a few more when I get a chance.


  • 20220726_123834.jpg
    5.1 MB · Views: 4
  • 20220726_123924.jpg
    9.1 MB · Views: 5
  • 20220726_124105.jpg
    6.4 MB · Views: 4
Just returned from another campervan trip around central and northern France. This year, just 3 weeks (31st May to 20th June) and not exclusively a birding trip so a bit more limited in scope than last year (in birdwatching terms). Still 140 species seen and many of the same birds as last year, with the addition of a few others, including Black-winged Kite, Black Woodpecker, Common Rosefinch, Knot, Long-eared Owl and Barn Owl. Regions visited included the Angevin hay meadows (around Angers), the Loire valley (including the agricultural plains and semi-natural grasslands around Montreuil Bellay), the heathlands, lakes and low-intensity farmlands of La Brenne, the varied habitats of the 'Boucles de la Seine' in Normandy and the channel coast.

If I get a chance I'll post a few further details on some of the species seen. Until then, here is the species list:

France Trip List 31st May - 20th June, 2023

1. Mute Swan
2. Greylag
3. Canada Goose
4. Shelduck
5. Mallard
6. Gadwall
7. Pochard
8. Red-crested Pochard
9. Tufted Duck
10. Grey Partridge
11. Pheasant
12. Quail
13. Great Crested Grebe
14. Little Grebe
15. Black-necked Grebe
16. Fulmar
17. Gannet
18. Cormorant
19. Night Heron
20. Cattle Egret
21. Little Egret
22. Great White Egret
23. Grey Heron
24. Purple Heron
25. White Stork
26. Black Stork
27. Spoonbill
28. Short-toed Eagle
29. Red Kite
30. Black Kite
31. Black-winged Kite
32. Marsh Harrier
33. Montagu's Harrier
34. Common Buzzard
35. Honey Buzzard
36. Sparrowhawk
37. Kestrel
38. Hobby
39. Water Rail
40. Corncrake
41. Moorhen
42. Coot
43. Little Bustard
44. Black-winged Stilt
45. Stone Curlew
46. Little Ringed Plover
47. Lapwing
48. Redshank
49. Knot
50. Common Sandpiper
51. Mediterranean Gull
52. Black-headed Gull
53. Kittiwake
54. Herring Gull
55. Yellow-legged Gull
56. Lesser Black-backed Gull
57. Great Black-backed Gull
58. Sandwich Tern
59. Little Tern
60. Common Tern
61. Whiskered Tern
62. Stock Dove
63. Woodpigeon
64. Collared Dove
65. Turtle Dove
66. Cuckoo
67. Barn Owl
68. Long-eared Owl
69. Tawny Owl
70. Little Owl
71. Nightjar
72. Swift
73. Hoopoe
74. Kingfisher
75. Bee-eater
76. Green Woodpecker
77. Great Spotted Woodpecker
78. Black Woodpecker
79. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
80. Skylark
81. Woodlark
82. Sand Martin
83. Swallow
84. House Martin
85. Tree Pipit
86. Rock Pipit
87. White Wagtail
88. Blue-headed Wagtail / Yellow Wagtail
89. Grey Wagtail
90. Dunnock
91. Robin
92. Nightingale
93. Bluethroat
94. Common Redstart
95. Black Redstart
96. Whinchat
97. Stonechat
98. Song Thrush
99. Mistle Thrush
100. Blackbird
101. Garden Warbler
102. Blackcap
103. Common Whitethroat
104. Dartford Warbler
105. Sedge Warbler
106. Reed Warbler
107. Marsh Warbler
108. Zitting Cisticola
109. Grasshopper Warbler
110. Melodious Warbler
111. Chiffchaff
112. Firecrest
113. Wren
114. Spotted Flycatcher
115. Great Tit
116. Blue Tit
117. Marsh Tit
118. Long-tailed Tit
119. Nuthatch
120. Short-toed Treecreeper
121. Red-backed Shrike
122. Magpie
123. Jay
124. Jackdaw
125. Rook
126. Carrion Crow
127. Starling
128. Golden Oriole
129. House Sparrow
130. Common Rosefinch
131. Hawfinch
132. Chaffinch
133. Linnet
134. Goldfinch
135. Greenfinch
136. Serin
137. Reed Bunting
138. Yellowhammer
139. Cirl Bunting
140. Corn Bunting
The Black-winged Kite was a definite highlight as it's my first outside of Spain. I had great views of it hunting between Tournon St Martin and Neons sur Creuse on 04/06. This area is on the edge of La Brenne and is definitely worth checking out - this year there were 6 Bee-eaters in the area, Hoopoes, Black Kites, Red-backed Shrikes, Woodlarks, Melodious Warblers, Golden Oriole, Turtle Doves, Tree Pipit, Cirl Buntings, Zitting Cisticola, Nightingales, Serins, Hobby, Corn Buntings, Cattle Egrets and a Night Heron. Well worth checking out when you visit.
A totally unexpected find occurred on 18/06 at Pourville, Hautot sur Mer, near Dieppe, Normandy. I emerged from the campervan at about 7am and heard a very distinctive whistle. I quickly grabbed my binoculars and scanned a tree on the other side of the road (where the sound was coming from). There I saw a Common Rosefinch perched quite prominently. It called once more before flying off. I'm not aware of the current status of this species in France but I assume it's a relative rarity / scarcity and not established as a breeder in the area. Anyone know anything more about its current status?
Yes, it’s pretty rare though the Channel coast area up towards Calais has seen possible breeding in recent years.This year I can only find six sightings in the whole country on Faune France, one holding territory since late May but no pairs seen. So a good find on your part !

Users who are viewing this thread