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Birding Normandy

The new region of Normandie combines the previous regions of upper and lower Normandie. From the Carentan Marshes to Mont des Avaloirs( the highest point in Normandy); This region is characterised by its greenery. Traditional practices, such as coppicing and pollarding, ensure the sustainability of the forest systems; whilst the traditional orchards ensure an abundance of cider and calvados. Normandy also has extensive heaths and majestic, rugged cliffs – all ensuring the richest possible biodiversity.The economy of Normandie is centred around agriculture, chemical and oil industry, although it makes millions through tourism.

UK birders will be delighted with the birdlife a few miles across the water as it is still like birding southeast England was half a century ago with birds like Nightingales still much easier to see there. That short sea crossing is still one many birds baulk at so UK birders can expect many species they rarely see at home; Black Kites, Bluethroats, Kentish Plovers and Fan-tailed Warblers to name but a few. ‘Progress’ in farming is marching inexorably on despite conservationist warnings, and this will inevitably impoverish the avifauna.

Top Sites
  • Antifer Harbour

    Satellite View
    (North of Le Havre/Seine-Maritime) is a good sea-watching spot.
  • Baie d'Orne

    Satellite View
    (Salenelles to Ouistreham, North of Caen, Calvados) a nice place for wetlands and marinebirds, near the ferry's harbour.
  • Baie du Mont-St-Michel

    InformationSatellite View
    (SW, between Normandy and Brittany) & Baie de Seine (Le Havre) are the main sites (and extensive) for shorebirds and vagrants. The Baie du Mont St Michel is a wonderful birding place, almost anywhere will do - there is a first class visitor centre at Genets with a superb walk along the edge of the bay South from there, and the headlands at Bec d'Andain and Le Grouin either side of there. Then there are the marshy grasslands at the South end of the bay, North of Dol de Bretagne - go there in the autumn and winter especially.
  • Falaise de Carolles

    Satellite View
    (South of Granville, Manche) regional (& national) spot for Passerines migration in autumn - among whom Tawny and Richard's Pipits, Ortolan Bunting, Finches, Larks…Baie du Mont-St-Michel (SW, between Normandy and Brittany) & Baie de Seine (Le Havre)are the main sites (and extensive) for shorebirds and vagrants.
  • Foret d'Ecouves

    Satellite View
    Park at Carrefour de Rendez-vous and follow the forest trail. You will probably not see another soul. Black Woodpecker, Tree Pipits, and Hobby here.
  • Gatteville Lighthouse

    Satellite View
    (East of Cherbourg/Manche) is a good seawatching spot.
  • Pays d'Auge & Marais de la Dives (East of Caen, Calvados)

    Satellite View
    White Stork, Woodpeckers, Warblers… and a bastion for Red-Backed and Great Grey Shrikes.
  • Southern Normandy

    Southern Normandy is good for all woodland birds, Creepers, Warblers, Hoopoe, RB-Shrike (around Alençon/Orne); Stone-Curlew (Val de Seine); Crested Lark (South of Evreux/Eure)…
Useful Reading

  • Guide des Oiseaux de Normandie

    | By Bruno Dubrac, Serge Nicolle, & Herve Michel | Editions Hypolais | 2001 | 216 pages, Colour and b/w illustrations | ISBN: 9782913307025 Buy this book from
  • Groupe Ornithologique Normand

    Étude et Protection des Oiseaux et de leurs Milieux en Normandie - Our association's main tasks are the study and protection of birds and their environments in Upper and Lower Normandy.
  • LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseau) Normandie

    Facebook Page
    Our objectives: preserving ecological balances, ecosystems, biodiversity (fauna and flora in Normandy). Our activities: surveys, public events, training and development sessions, assistance with the creation of LPO Refuges, expertise, events in companies, schools, holding of stands, etc .
  • L’association CHENE - Centre d’Hébergement et d’Etudes sur la Nature et l’Environnement

    The association CHENE has been working since 1980 for the respect and defense of wild fauna and flora.

Abbreviations Key

  • Baie du Mont st Michel

    InformationSatellite View
    The Mont Saint-Michel Bay (French: Baie du mont Saint-Michel, Breton: Bae Menez-Mikael) is located between Brittany (to the south west) and the Normandy peninsula of Cotentin (to the south and east). The bay is part of the club of the world's most beautiful bays (fr) and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Due to the significant tidal movements in this region (over 10 meters) a large part of the bay is uncovered at low tide. There are two granitic islands in the bay: Tombelaine and the Mont Saint-Michel. Many birds and harbor seal live in this area.
  • NF Foret Domaniale de Belleme

    WebpageSatellite View
    The forest of Bellême is a remnant of "sylva pertica"; the wildwood of the Gallo-Roman era. Owned by the Counts of Perche, the forest of Bellême was a Royal Forest in the 13th century before becoming state property during the Revolution.
  • NR Réserve Naturelle du Domaine de Beauguillot

    WebpageSatellite View
    Implantée entre terre et mer, sur la commune de Sainte-Marie du Mont, site renommé du débarquement allié de 1944, la réserve naturelle du domaine de Beauguillot n’en est pas moins un haut-lieu de la découverte de la nature. Situé au cœur de la baie des Veys, le domaine appartient au vaste complexe des marais de l’isthme du Cotentin.
  • PNR - Le Parc Naturel Régional ds Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin

    WebpageSatellite View
  • PNR Le Parc Naturel Régional Normandie-Maine

    WebpageSatellite View
  • PNR Le Parc Naturel Régional du Perche

    WebpageSatellite View
  • PNR des Boucles de la Seine Normande

    WebpageSatellite View
Sightings, News & Forums
  • Forum of the Ornithological Group Normand

    Study and protection of birds and their habitats in Normandy - Connectez-vous avec vos réseaux sociaux ci-dessous ou avec vos identifiants classiques (en haut à droite)
Trip Reports
  • Baie du Mont St Michel

    We crossed by Seacat from Dover to head for Normandy and the Baie du Mont St Michel, which turned out to be a superb place, with two particularly fine interpretation centres. We had good views of a pale phase Arctic Skua on the crossing, and after an easy ride South, had a stop for lunch near to Yvetot . In some roadside woods just off the autoroute there were Nuthatch, Chiffchaff, and Great Spotted Woodpecker to admire.
Places to Stay
  • La Basse Cour, Ancinnes, Pays de la Loire

    This XVIII century Normandy farmhouse has three beautiful en-suite guest rooms (chambres d'hôtes) approved by Gîtes de France. The guest house is in a lovely setting by a lake, surrounded by wooded and planted gardens on the fringes of the Forest of Perseigne, straddling the Orne (Normandy) and Sarthe (Pays de Loire).
Other Links
  • Birding in Normandy & Pays de la Loire

    Suffice it to say that wherever you go in the region, given time and patience you’ll see something interesting in the air or on the ground and covered in feathers, whether you are a devoted twitcher or an ordinary Joe like me who takes pleasure in watching whatever nature is offering around me at the time.

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