INTRODUCTION: The Calais/Boulogne area harbours some very interesting species and has superb birding sites (despite many areas being heavily shot over). For birders based in south-east England the area makes a very good day trip, but a long weekend is really needed to explore all the sites mentioned. Visiting two or three sites in one day is usually quite enough. This account has been compiled largely from my own visits, but I am grateful for the input from those who've given me lifts and others who have kindly supplied information. Those sites I don't know, and hence I may have garbled and/or misunderstood the information, I've marked with an asterisk. These details are largely based on trips made in May/June and so I have little information on winter or autumn birding (information on birding in these seasons would be most welcome). Autumn birding has great untapped potential. A number of species rare or scarce in across the Channel are tolerably easy to find in the Pas de Calais (e.g. Honey Buzzard, Kentish Plover, Little Egret, Spoonbill, Golden Oriole, Crested Lark, Bluethroat, Melodious Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Crested Tit and Serin) and other good species are possible with luck or effort (e.g. Great Reed Warbler, Bee-eater, Common Rosefinch and Black-winged Stilt). NOTE : Hunting remains a popular pastime in this area and is probably the reason why many marshy areas still exist. Frankly, whatever your views, it is best to avoid confrontations.
WEBSITE: There is now a superb website giving site details, recent reports, etc for the coastal area around Calais - http://home.nordnet.fr/~edansette/ organised by the local birding group (‘Skua’ -in the case of difficulty a good search engine should find it under this name).
TRAVEL OPTIONS: Depending on your route and timing, using the tunnel can add up to 2 hours on your birding time in France and you don't have to book, but you miss out on the sea-watching en route and it is generally more expensive (but check with le Shuttle - tel 0990 353535 - for special offers). Birding the area is obviously easier by car, but birding on foot/cycle from the Calais ferry terminal can be rewarding and, unlike motorists, foot/cycle passengers generally needn't book onto the ferries in advance. Several operators sail to Calais via Dover (P&O - tel. 0990-980 980, Stena Line - tel. 0990-707070, Hoverspeed - tel. 0990 240241 & Seafrance - tel. 01304 212696). Boulogne can be reached via the Seacat service (tel. as Hoverspeed). Sally Lines (tel. 0990 595522) now only sails the Ramsgate-Ostend route and so is of limited use for exploring this area. Stagecoach (tel. 01227-472082) currently operates a regular Canterbury -Folkestone- Boulogne coach service via the tunnel (allowing c6 hours in Boulogne). Connex South Eastern also runs a coach service through the tunnel from Ashford (tel. 0870-6030405)
ACCOMMODATION & TRAVEL IN FRANCE: Note that the maps are intended as a general guide only and that it is advisable to use a good up-to-date road atlas or local maps. Note also that since I last explored some of the more southerly sites the A16/E402 has been completed to Abbeville and beyond. This makes travel to these sites much quicker and the area more accessible on a day trip. If planning a weekend trip and you don't mind clean, but very basic, accommodation try the ‘Hotel Formule 1’ chain (Abbeville, Boulogne & Calais). Abbeville would make a fine base for exploring the south; Boulogne or Calais for the Cap Gris Nez/Platier d'Oye areas. St Omer is also a pleasant base and, lacking the huge numbers of British tourists, has more of a French feel.
1. DUNKERQUE and LE CLIPON*
The eastern of the two breakwaters that extends out to sea from le Clipon (north of Loon-plage) is reputed to be far better than Cap Gris Nez for seabirds (inc all three skuas, shearwaters, petrels etc). NW or NE winds are best. Following the example of Felixstowe and Zebrugge the well-lit docks ought to be a draw for migrants … The harbour can be good for divers, grebes and seaduck in winter. Crested Lark are present at the old 'Sally Line' car park and in other suitable habitat in the town. (There is also a newish heath land reserve on the French/Belgian border where Dartford Warblers have been seen and looks good for migrants).
Directions: Follow main coastal road east from Calais to Loon-plage (c 30 km) then follow minor roads north to le Clipon and the harbour. The western side of the harbour may presumably be explored by minor roads north-east of Gravelines. [See Map 6]
2. PLATIER D'OYE
Apart from a site near Les Attaques this is the best site in the area for waders. A large hide, near the car park, overlooks a large 'scrape' which can hold good concentrations of Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Avocet plus all the usual migratory waders. Temminck's Stints are regular and rarities have included Lesser Yellowlegs, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint and Terek Sandpiper. (However, Kentish Plover seem much less easy to see here & near Calais than hitherto). About ½ mile further east there is a large shallow lagoon (with several hides around its perimeter) which is excellent for waders (Black-winged Stilt regularly breeds - 5 present May 2000), gulls (inc. Mediterranean Gull - colony increasing), terns (Whiskered Tern has been recorded in May) and Spoonbill. I have also seen Garganey and Black-necked Grebe here in spring. The coastal scrub holds masses of Nightingale and should be good for migrants. Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting and Shore Lark winter (look on beach towards Grand Fort Philippe - c130 Shore Lark & 100+ Snow Bunting in 97/98). The area also has Natterjack Toad.
Directions: Follow either the D119 or N1 east from Calais to Oye-Plage (c16 km) and then head towards les Dunes d'Oye and then head towards the coast following the reserve signs. Park in the large gravelled car park (with toilet block!) near first hide. Paths from here allow exploration of the scrub. Either walks or drive east to explore the lagoon. [See Map 1]
The newly grassed area near the Hoverport has Crested Lark. Also try the Dunes along the beach to the west of the port) The beach can hold Kentish Plover. The Tioxide factory (off the first roundabout from the ferry terminal) holds Black Redstart. Behind the factory and near a football pitch is an area of woodland and scrub which has Icterine Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper and Golden Oriole. It should be excellent for migrants. Walk east along the dunes towards les Hemmes de Marck and you reach an area with bushes that also look excellent for migrants. For the energetic the coastal track here allows you to walk or cycle to Platier d'Oye. One or two pairs of Fan-tailed Warbler have bred near Marck (just east of Calais) since 1997 - take the lane to the ‘equestrian centre’ towards the sea off the D119 (just east of the Calais bypass), drive all the way to where there’s a metal gate across what is by then a gravel track. The warblers are c100m back towards Calais on the landward side.
Directions: Simply explore the area east of the ferry terminal and behind the smoking chimneys of the Tioxide factory. This can easily be done on foot or cycle from the ferry terminal. [See Map 1]
4. MARAIS DE GUINES*
This reserve consists of marshy scrub, a couple of lakes, a single hide and a '9' shaped path round it. It holds Golden Oriole, Bluethroat, Grasshopper & Savis Warbler and acrocephalus warblers. Little visited, this site would probably repay further investigation.
Directions: Marais de Guines is c10 km south of Calais east of the D127. Turn south-east just short of Guines along the D248E. A path enters the reserve via a small, easily missed gate, just west of St. Joseph's Hospice. [See Map 6]
5. ROMELAERE (St Omer)
A pleasant wetland reserve north-east of St Omer that has Marsh Warbler, possibly Great Reed Warbler, Bluethroats (which favour the grassy dyke crossed area in the middle of the reserve), Golden Oriole, Honey Buzzard (esp. in surrounding woods), several pairs of Bittern and Little Bittern (a revival in since the 1980s - 3 pairs in 1995 & 4 in 2000). Serin and Black Redstart can be found in St Omer (the former in the large municipal parks).
Directions: Take the A26 and then the N42 to St Omer (c 40 km from Calais). Skirt the north of the town on the D928 and turn right just after you pass under the railway line onto the D209. Continue to Clairmarais - the reserve centre is 400m past St Bernard's church. [See Map 2]
6. ESCALLES and CAP BLANC NEZ
Common Rosefinch are best looked for early in the morning in late May/early June. They are best located in song as they perch on isolated clumps of bushes along the road to the monument on the cap. Rosefinch can be seen elsewhere along this coast, but Blanc Nez is the most reliable site. You can try sea watching from here, but Cap Gris Nez or le Clipon are better. The whole area looks excellent for migrants (e.g. Ring Ousels, Grasshopper Warbler). In autumn the hilltop with a radio tower and overlooking a reservoir (across from the monument) is particularly good for migrating raptors which turn inland along the valley. A two hour watch here in August 1998 produced 64 migrating raptors - mainly Marsh Harrier, but including Montagu’s Harrier, Buzzard & Honey Buzzard)
Directions: Escalles and Blanc Nez are c11 km south of Calais along the D940
[See Map 3]
7. WISSANT MARSH*
Wissant marsh has Marsh, Savi's and Cetti's Warblers (plus Marsh Harriers and Bluethroat) and is very well placed to attract migrants. The northern half is shot over, but the southern half is now a reserve.
Directions: Follow the D940 along the coast. The marsh is midway between the two Caps (c 20 km south-east of Calais). Just off the road at the northern end there is a good, if distant, view point over the area. Continue down the main road and turn right along a track at the southern end to reach the reserve. [See Map 3]
8. CAP GRIS NEZ
Gris Nez is a well-known migration hot-spot and sea watching site (esp. NE or NW wind) - numbers of skuas, shearwaters (inc Sooty) and petrels are greater than in across the Channel. An excellent site for visible migration, but there is little cover on the Cap to hold birds. Friends have had Snowy Owl, Rustic Bunting Corncrake and Long-tailed Skua here, but I've never been lucky. Common Rosefinch occur, but Blanc Nez is better.
Directions: Cap Gris Nez is well signposted from the D940 and N1 (c 30 km South-east of Calais) and is very handy for the Channel Tunnel. [See Map 3]
Bee-eaters have bred here and may still turn up. The dunes and general area seem good for Grasshopper Warblers and various migrants. Possibly also Crested Lark in the area. As with Rosefinch, remember that Bee-eaters are rare in this part of France and behave accordingly.
Directions: Just north of Ambelteuse (c 40 km South-east of Calais), turn down a narrow lane heading away from the coast (just beyond a small World War II museum - not to be confused with the museum at Audinghen). Park near the old rubbish tip (c150 m) and view along the small stream. [See Map 6]
10. BOULOGNE and LE PORTEL
This is the area for gulls - esp. Mediterranean Gulls and has turned up some rare/scarce species (e.g. Ring-billed Gull, Yellow-legged and 'white-winged' gulls). Don't ignore the rest of Boulogne - the inner waterways can hold Mediterranean Gull (and has played host to an Audouin's Gull). In July 1997 I had a Saker Falcon fly over the old town!
Directions: Follow directions to le Portel which is a suburb on the south side of Boulogne (c 35 km from Calais). [See Map 6]
11. HARDELOT and MONT ST FRIEUX
Hardelot, esp. the area around the golf clubhouse and the swish houses nearby, is excellent for Redstart, Serins and Crested Tit. The Dunes de Mont St Frieux*, between the D119/D940 and the coast, a few km further south towards Dammes also has Crested Tit and Goshawk plus, it is said, a pair or two of Black Woodpecker.
Directions: Follow directions off the D940 Boulogne - Le Touquet road for Hardelot (c 50 km from Calais) and thereafter for the golf club. For Mont St Frieux look for tracks off the coastal road south from Hardelot. [See Map 6]
The Dunes Nature Reserve on the Canche estuary has three hides and a viewing platform. These overlook pools, scrub and marshy areas. As the Canche is shot over, this reserve should be a haven for waders and marsh birds, but I have no details. More information please!
Directions: Take the D940 south from Hardelot as it skirts Camiers (c 55 km from Calais) take a narrow track about 300m north of the British cemetery and park just before the railway bridge. Follow track under bridge to reserve and hides. [See Map 6]
Although the poplar plantation on the N1 near Montreuil has been heavily felled, it is still worth a brief pause for Golden Oriole and, with wet marshy areas now opened up it now also looks good for Bluethroat ...... The river valley that runs inland here has many poplar plantations and probably hold many pairs of Golden Oriole. The town would make an attractive base for exploration.
Directions: The plantation, though now much has been felled, is still obvious where the N1 cuts round Montreiul (c 70 km from Calais). A small track runs parallel to the main road here with subsidiary tracks heading into the woods[See Map 6]
14. CRECY FOREST
Crecy Forest, a magical woodland of mature beech, oak and conifer, is easily explored via the network of tracks and roads that criss-cross the area. The mature woodlands hold Golden Oriole, Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper, Crested Tit (esp. in conifers) and Hawfinch can be easy. The forest now has a few pairs of Black Woodpecker and I have twice heard them in May, but an early spring visit is recommended. Birds of prey here include Hobby, Buzzard, Honey Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and, reputedly, Goshawk. The open areas of mixed scrub with plenty of broom within the wood are favoured by Melodious Warbler, but note that Icterine Warbler are sometimes seen. Map Butterfly present.
Directions: The forest is some 90 km south of Calais. Take the A16/E402 south leaving at Exit 24 to connect with the southward bound N1. Turn left to cross a bridge over the A16/E402 at the junction of the D32 & N1 (as the exit road swings north, this bridge is just south of the exit you've just used). This road enters the forest at Forest-Montiers. If coming from Sailly Bray enter from the D111 south of Novion (before the junction of the D32). [See Map 4]
15. SAILLY BRAY
A superb site best visited early AM. Combines well with a later visit trip to Crecy and/or Marquenterre. It has Blue-headed (and Yellow) Wagtails, Golden Oriole, Grasshopper, Savi's, Cetti's and Marsh Warblers, but the star of the show is Bluethroat (c14 pairs in 1997). These are best seen in the marshy area near the Pont-le-Dien picnic site. Spotted Crake, Garganey and Bittern occur. Marsh, Montagu's and Hen Harriers have all been seen in spring. A reasonable track, running along the southern edge of the marsh, links Pont-le-Dien with Sailly Bray, allows good views of the marsh. The track on the northern side of the marsh, to Bonnelle, is not suitable for cars throughout its length. Apparently there are Bluthroat and Savi's Warbler near Bonelle, but I've not seen them personally. Wild Boar also occur.
Directions: Take Exit 24 from the A16/E402 and then the N1 south to Nouvion (c100 km south of Calais), then the D111 to Nolette where you turn right for Ponthoile and park after c1 km at the Pont-le-Dien picnic site. [See Map 4]
The area gets crowded with day trippers, but most head straight to the beach. A path loops round the muddy lagoons passing through oddly designed hides. This reserve has Little, Great and even a few Cattle Egrets and a population of White Stork (some feral/captive stock - others genuine[?]). The 'scrapes' hold a variety of waders including Kentish Plover and Avocet. It is a regular stopping off point for Spoonbill. It is also a good site for vagrant waders (including, in recent years, Terek Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper). Crested Tit and Serin can usually be seen in the woods on the edge of the reserve and Black Woodpeckers seem to be colonising the area. People tend either to love or hate this reserve - I've never bothered to go in since most species can be seen from outside the reserve. However, the site has a good reputation for attracting rarities. To the south of the reserve the Somme estuary can be scanned for waders from le Crotoy. The estuary itself is heavily shot over.
Directions: Take exit 24 off the A16/E402 for Rue then follow the D 32 to the west of Rue (c90 km south of Calais). Then take the road signposted to the reserve; various tracks off this lane may allow access to the beach and along one, sign posted 'To the Bay' (only in French!), we had several White Stork. Entrance to the reserve is about 45F (c£4.50) and is open from 9:30 - 19:00 April-September and 10:00 - 17:00 in the winter, but it would be wise to check details with the reserve in advance. [See Map 4]
17. HAUBLE D'AULT
A series of pools along the coast between Cayeux-sur-Mer and Ault attracts a variety of species - a reed fringed pool with Mute Swan has a few pairs of Great Reed Warbler. This pool is nearer Cayeux than Hautebut. It is also a good area for migrants - Whiskered Tern apparently regularly in spring. Pools nearest Ault have Natterjack Toad. Good potential for migrants of all sorts in this area.
crossing the Somme and passing St. Valery-sur-Somme either continue into
Cayeux along the D204 or turn south towards Ault along the D940 (c8 km)
to Hautebut. Pick up the dirt track at Hautebut that runs along the dunes
and past the pools between the front to the sea front at Cayeux. (Reverse
directions if coming from Cayeux). Being 120 km south of Calais including
this in your itinerary makes for a long day. [See Map 5]
you venture across the Channel for some birding, particularly if you visit
sites not listed here, please let me know what you see so that I can
update my database.
Feel free to photocopy/fax/email these sheets and pass them on to other interested parties.
Should you have a spare place in your car, I would be happy to act as your guide if you wish. If you just want to chat about birding in France, check on details, tell me what you've had, etc. then please phone [or write/fax/email] me.
John Cantelo, 17 Clyde Street, Canterbury, CT1 1NA
- Tel/Fax. O1227-762316 Email - email@example.com
APPENDIX - SOME KEY SPECIES
The population figures that appear in these accounts have been culled from the excellent regional bird atlas ('Les Oiseaux de la Region Nord - Pas-de-Calais' - 1985-1995) and refer to a 'core area' (i.e. the coastal strip c50km deep running from the Belgian border to the River Authie). Unfortunately this omits the excellent areas of marsh (e.g. Sailly Bray) and woodland (e.g. Crecy Forest) between the Authie and the Somme. Where I have indicated population shifts this is always between 1976 & 1995 and , unless stated otherwise, refers tp the whole region covered by the atlas (i.e. Nord-Pas-de-Calais) as detailed breakdowns are not given in the atlas.
Bittern - breeds at Romelaere
Little Bittern - variable numbers breed at Romelaere - 1995 - 3 pairs, 2000 4 pairs, but sometimes may be absent - and, as always, difficult to see.
Cattle Egret - a few birds seen at Marquenterre.
Great-White Egret - few birds seen at Marquenterre.
Little Egret - can be seen at any suitable site in the area. As with Britain numbers fluctuate year by year and by season. Has bred at Marquenterre since 1978 and this remains the best site. A few pairs (4 in 1995) nest in the south of the 'core' area. Also often seen at Platier d'Oye.
Cattle Egret - seems to be seen more frequently of late esp. at Marquenterre.
Spoonbill - Platier d'Oye & Marquenterre are the best sites.
White Stork - whatever the actual status of the birds at Marquenterre are good to see.
Hen Harrier - seen in winter and spring in suitable habitat. Like all raptors it has benefitted from legal protection granted in 1972 and has markedly increased since 1976. 15-30 pairs, breed.
Montagu's Harrier - regularly reported in spring. Has also increased with possibly as many as 10 pairs in the 'core area')
Marsh Harrier - frequently seen in suitable habitat east of Calais (c20 pairs?).
Buzzard - common. Possibly as many as 100 pairs in the 'core area' - a huge increase since 1976.
Honey Buzzard - apparently increased since the first French atlas - every substantial woodland appears to support the species. I've never missed them in season. Between 35 -65 pairs, but absent along the Flamande coastal plain east of Calais.
Goshawk - reported to be present in a number of woodlands in the area (e.g. Crecy), but only reliable report I know of is from Mont St Frieux - probably overlooked. The atlas gives the population as between 2 -10. Regionally a big increase from 0 -1 to 25 - 75 pairs
Spotted Crake - may well breed at Sailly Bray and certainly to be found on the numerous small marshes in the area, but very elusive. A few birds may be present in the Authie valley
Corncrake - a small population apparently still persists in the Somme valley, but I have no details. Heard at Gris Nez in 1997. A few scattered records for the 'core area' in the atlas.
Black-winged Stilt - erratic breeder in the area; 1-2 pairs present most years at Platier d'Oye and odd birds elsewhere. Increasing since mid eighties (see also pools off the road around St Firmin on a minor road between Le Crotoy & Marquenterre)
Stone Curlew - reportedly still a few birds to be heard near Escalles, but obviously a rare bird in the area and one that has declined since 1976.
Kentish Plover - most easily seen at Platier d'Oye and Marquenterre; also feeding near the Hoverport and various other suitable sites along the north coast. Between 80-90 pairs reported on the Flamande coastal plain east of Calais in the atlas , but I have the impression of a decrease since - it is certainly no longer a cinch as it used to be at Platier d’Oye.
Mediterranean Gull - even a superficial scrutiny of the gulls around the ferry on docking at Calais usually produces a few Meds. In breeding season present at Platier d'Oye and Marquenterre. Large numbers in winter at Le Portel; can be seen almost anywhere in Boulogne. apparently increased at Platier d’Oye
Bee-Eater - Bred 1989. Since at least 1994 has bred regularly on the Channel coast. First on the Belgian border (1994) then at Ambelteuse (1995 - 1998?). Odd birds seen in the area since - probably still breeds. Note that this small, isolated colony is vulnerable and may desert any year so treat them with respect.
Black Woodpecker - increased since first French atlas (regional figures show a rise from 10-15 to 37-45 pairs) and increasing around Brugges in Belgium. It has now apparently colonised several woodlands (Crecy & Mont St Frieux) along the coast. Birds infrequently seen over Marquenterre and thought to be breeding nearby. Also present in woodlands south of le Crotnoy.
Middle-Spotted Woodpecker - a few pairs exist in the extreme east of Nord-Pas-de-Calais in Hainaut-Avesnois (95-145 pairs ), but I have no precise details.
Crested Lark - localised esp. in sandy coastal locations I've only seen them near the Hoverport in Calais. Present elsewhere e.g. old Sally Line car park in Dunkerque. Also in dunes just east of the port area in Calais - more details please! Between 45 - 70 pairs along the coast east of Calais (esp. near the Belgian border?) ans c20 pairs along the coast south of Cap Gris Nez.
Bluethroat - another species that has greatly increased since the '70s especially after 1984 (20-30 pairs to 350-700 pairs ) - Wissant Marsh, Romelaere, Guines and Sailly Bray all hold the species. The many small inaccessible wetland areas along the coast south of Le Touquet reportedly harbour Bluethroat. Between 25-50 pairs nest along the coast east of Calais (inc. St. Omer area) and 5-10 pairs between the Authie and Canche.
Black Redstart - common bird of town and industrial sites (Calais, Boulogne, St Omer, Le Touquet, etc). Between 2,500 -3,000 pairs in the core area!
Savi's Warbler - evidently a scarce and infrequent species; reported from Sailly Bray, Wissant and Romelaere. The main concentration in the 'core area' ain marshes along the first 20 km of the Authie(22-29 pairs). Regional population has declined from 50-75 pairs to 30-45 pairs (cf decline in UK)
Grasshopper Warbler - apparently more frequent in suitable habitat (up to c350 pairs?) than in Kent where it is very scarce.
Marsh Warbler - common - frequenting damp (and not so damp) scrub throughout the area. Between 2,500 - 3,500 pairs in the 'core area'. Increasing 7,500-10,000 pairs to 9,000-15,000 pairs (cf increase in SE UK)
Great Reed Warbler - declining - I have only seen them at Hauble D'Ault. Until the early 90s bred around St. Omer/Romeleare. Up to 2 pairs in the Authie/Canche valleys. Regionally population has decreased sharply from 200-250 to 4-20 pairs
Cetti's Warbler - as in UK numbers fluctuate with the hardness of the weather and consequently has declined since the 1980s (regionally from 500-1000 pairs to 15-150 pairs). A few pairs in marhses south of Calais and around St.Omer, but the Canche & Authie valleys are strongholds (c10-90 pairs). Somme valley is probably better still. Usually heard around Sailly Bray, Wissant and Romelaere.
Fan-Tailed Warbler - once bred in a lagoon now covered by Calais docks and in the area up to 66 pairs may have bred before the harsh winterof '84/'85. Two pairs reported 1997 near Marck. Likely to disappear with the first cold winter.
Melodious Warbler - commoner of the two hippolais warblers and advancing north since colonising the SE of the region in 1977. Either species can turn up in suitable habitat. Apparently prefers disturbed bushy areas with broom within established woodlands. Increasing - now frequent in suitable habitat in all areas except the Flamande coastal plain east of Calais and along the Belgian border (population in 'core area' now c400-1000). Best located by song - both this species & Icterine are highly mimetic, but to my mind Melodious has a more Garden Warbler/Blackcap quality whilst Ictering is reminiscent of Reed/Sedge Warbler.
Icterine Warbler - declining from c2000 to 1600 pairs with c250 pairs in the 'core area'. Still the commoner of the two hippolais warblers around Calais and the Belgian border (although I have had one in Crecy Forest and they could turn up anywhere); apparently prefers taller more established trees with a good canopy. Best located by song (see above)
Firecrest - thinly spread and not always easy to locate (c50 pairs in the 'core area'); I have only seen them in the Crecy Forest where they seem tolerably frequent.
Crested Tit - thinly spread throughout the area (except east of Calais and along the Belgian border. Most frequent in in coastal pine belts (e.g. the golf course at Hardelot - the easiest site for the species in my experience - Marquenterre & Mont St Frieux. Also in Crecy and numerous small pine woodlands in the region.
Short-toed Treecreeper - the 'creeper of the region, best located by call; found in woodlands throughout the area.
Golden Oriole - can be heard in any woodland in the area and esp. in poplar plantations (even in just a few trees can hold birds). Can be hard to actually see! Between c350 - 600 pairs in the 'core area' especially in woodlands east and south of Boulogne.
Serin - less frequent along the Flamande coastal plain (c400 pairs east & south of Boulogne - not including areas south of the Authie). I've always found Hardelot the easiest site to see this species, but it may be seen in any suitable habitat.
Seawatching - strong
onshore winds bring in gannets, skuas, shearwaters, petrels; in spring
strong westerlies can produced good movements off Cap Gris Nez; in autumn
strong NW or NE bring birds past Clipon and Gris Nez. (see ‘BIRDING
WORLD’ - (Vol 12 No8 334-338 )