Grand Est is made up of three former regions; Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine. It is a French administrative region in northeastern France and its regional council had to approve a new name for the region by 1 July 2016. France's Conseil d'État approved Grand Est as the new name of the region on 28 September 2016, effective 30 September 2016. The administrative capital and largest city is Strasbourg.
Grand Est covers 57,433 square kilometres (22,175 sq mi) of land and is the sixth-largest of the new regions. Grand Est borders four countries - Belgium,Luxembourg, Germany, and Switzerland along its northern and eastern sides. It is the only French region to border more than two countrieHauts-de-France, Île-de-France, and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.
The main ranges in the region include the Vosges to the east and the Ardennes to the north. The region is bordered on the east by the Rhine which forms most of the border with Germany. Other major rivers which flow through the region include: the Meuse, Moselle, Marne, and Saône. Lakes include: lac de Gérardmer, lac de Longemer, lac de Retournemer, lac des Corbeaux, Lac de Bouzey, lac de Madine, étang du Stock and lac de Pierre-Percée.
The countryside of much of the region is very variable, ahaving areas with distinct character. Most notable is the high clay plateau forming the watershed between the Marne and the Seine rivers. In this flat and wet area three very large artificial lakes have been created for the purpose of regulating flow in the Marne and Seine rivers. This means that they progressively dry out from late spring onwards and are at their lowest in November. Famous for their Catfish and Carp fishery, the lakes also provide a home for vast numbers of birds, at all times of the year. They are the Lacs du Der/Chantecoq, Amance, and Foret d'Orient, famous for their populations of migrating Cranes and as a winter home for White-tailed Eagles. Then there is the bocage country to the North and East of the region, with small fields, mature hedges, and some very unintensive farming in little pockets, as well as the Meuse and Sedan valleys and forests. The whole region always repays a close look wherever the travelling naturalist stops.
Chooz & Montherme
There is an excellent reserve in a bend in the Meuse River south of Givet [where there is a nuclear power station] which is good for Ospreys, Black-necked Grebe etc. The wooded hills West of there are good for Black Woodpecker, among other things. Nearby, there is a fascinating botanical reserve comprising a raised acid bog high in the hills above Montherme.
Forest du Der
The Forest du Der near Allichamps has Black and Middle-spotted Woodpecker, as also does the woodland North of the lovely village of Trois Fontaines, North of St Dizier.
La Horre lake
La Horre lake is near to (West) the Lac du Der and has breeding Purple Heron and Spotted Crake. The woods North of the Forest Orient lake around the Maison de Foret has flocks of tens of Hawfinch and wintering Firecrest, too.
Lac de la ForÃªt D'Orient and Lac du Der-Chantecoq
The lakes in Champagne are Well known for cranes on migration and over-wintering, local speciality also include WT Eagle, RL Buzzard and Bean Goose.Also has some very good woodlands in the area.
To the South of the town of Maubeuge in the west is some very very good birding in the woods, streams and hedges which saw such fierce fighting towards the end of the second world war. It also contains remnants of the Maginot Line. The small villages of Wallers-Trelon, Solre le Chateau, and the Val Joly lake near Willies will all repay a quiet ramble along the lanes or into the woods with a satisfying list of birds such as Red-backed Shrike, Honey Buzzard, Wood Warbler, Black and Red Kite, Corncrake and breeding Fieldfare, and maybe even Bonelli's Eagle.
Presque'Ile de Champaubert Park
At Lac du Der/Chantecoq, the park around the old Church at Presque'Ile de Champaubert is a must see, for raptors and rarer waterfowl - including 150 Smew in winter.
LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux) - Alsace
The League for the Protection of Birds - Local Association Alsace, commonly called "LPO Alsace", aims to act on behalf of birds, wildlife, nature and humans and to fight against the decline of biodiversity, Through knowledge, protection, education and mobilization. Its HQ is in Strasbourg.
LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux) - Champagne-Ardenne
The weight of our association will be all the greater as we will be numerous. In England, the equivalent of the LPO (RSPB) has more than 1,000,000 members. You can easily imagine the persuasive power of such a structure. By joining us, you will increase the effectiveness of our actions.
Forums & Mailing Lists
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The list obs-Champagne-Ardenne wants to be the rendezvous of all those who love the birds of the region, whether they are Champardennais or not.
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Forum discussing birds and other wildlife
Guides & Tour Operators
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area.
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2004 [11 November] - Ivan Steenkiste - Lac du Der
My wife and I spent 4 days (Nov 23 - 26) at the Lac du Der to enjoy the daily coming and going of thousands of Common Cranes. Their numbers are estimated to be around 14.000 (though higher numbers up to 70.000 were seen in October). These days, the elegant birds leave their safe sleeping areas at the Lake at around 07:35 in order to fly to / find food in the surrounding fields and landscapes. In the evening, they come back to the lake as of 15:30 in big V-shapes or long lines. Their approach can be heard from very far and when one is posted on the dike at the West side, superb pictures can be made, filled with an orange coloured sky.
Peter Wells - Lac du Der
This page will be updated soon to tell you about my birding trips to the Lac du Der - Chantecoq area in the Champagne - Ardennes region of North-Eastern France. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures
Birds in Alsace
List, illustrations etc
Photographers & Artists
Photographer - Sylvain Hellio
Sylvain Hellio is a French birdwatcher and a profesionnal nature photographer. He also organises workshop tours to photograph birds in Europe including Bulgaria, Denmark, Italy, France etc…