Today I did my first bit of semi-proper birding, paying a visit to the Beauguillot reserve near Utah Beach first before a brief visit to the Ponts d’Ouve area.
The path to the beach on the edge of Veys Bay is flanked by a tall elder hedge on one side that was heaving with berries and consequently lots of Blackcaps and Blackbirds. Even the elusive Robins were a little more showy here. There are a couple of hides under the hedge that look out over a marshy area where we had Common and Green Sandpipers, around 40 Little Egrets, Several Herons and Cormorants, a family of Little Grebes and a few flava Wagtails. A Marsh Harrier floew over here – I’ve seen Montagu’s here before but not today.
On the other side of the path is and area of reclaimed marsh where I’ve heard Quail on previous visits. Today we were treated to an adult Hobby as well as several Reed and Sedge Warblers that inhabited the reed-lined ditch along the path.
At the end of the track, two Zitting Cisticolas were tsipping around the marsh – as soon as they get a foothold in the UK, I’m sure they’ll spread quickly there too! We also had Stonechats, Reed Buntings, Linnets and Goldfinches but the tide was far out and so we only had gulls and a few Terns for company.
At Ponts d’Ouve they have a rather impressive information centre but it does cost 5 euro to get onto the reserve – the pass allows you as many return as you want in the year though (at least that’s what my limited ability in French translated the information to be).
We made our way to the main hide overlooking some shallow reed-lined pools and immediately picked up a Great White Egret as well as a couple of Little Egrets and loads of Green Sandpipers. The only other waders were flocks of Lapwings and a few Snipe. A Great Black-back Gull was tucking into a large fish on the side. There were a couple of Common Gulls as well as several Black-headed.