La Brenne

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la brenne
A patchwork of fishponds

A patchwork of fishponds

Unpopulated and unspoilt,the Brenne landscape is a patchwork of fishponds, heaths and red sandstone outcrops, that have been created and influenced by man since the middle ages.Today, with more than 2000 man made lakes (traditionally used for fish farming) the Brenne is of International importance for its rich and diverse wildlife and is criss-crossed by a multitude of narrow lanes and footpaths.
Both the Anglin and Creuse rivers cross an undulating landscape of hedgerows and woodland and have in places cut valleys that are steep sided with limestone hillsides and occassional cliffs.
Visiting birders should start at the Maison de la Nature et de la Reserve near St Michael-en-Brenne.The information centre and car park is run by British birder Tony Williams and there are information boards pointing visitors to the latest sightings.Plenty of other leaflets / maps are available, and there are a series of excellent hides throughought the area.
The Brenne is home to an exceptional array of wildlife: Whiskered tern, Black-necked grebe, purple heron, European pond tortoise....as well as many species of butterfly, dragonfly,orchids and many rare aquatic plants.

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What to see ?

What to see ?

La Brenne is close enough to the UK to get there in one day, and far enough south to have exotic species, and therefore a paradise for British birders.There is an excellent guide to Loire, Brenne and Sologne available here Sample text :The Brenne and the Sologne are peppered with hundreds of marsh-fringed lakes and here you can find good populations of Purple and Night Herons, Little Bitterns, Whiskered Terns and Black-necked Grebes. Up to ten pairs of Ospreys breed in the Solgne, while to the north is the Forest of Orléans where as many as 30 pairs are to be found. But the habitats also include heathland and unimproved grassland. Here you can find Hoopoes, Bee-eaters (and recent colonist) and Short-toed Eagles, while Little Bustards are in the drylands of Meron and Rock Sparrows are at Fontevraud. Click book cover for further details.


Some three hundred species of bird have been observed in the Brenne and below is a selected list of some of the more interesting for visitors from farther north in Europe.They all occur each year, most breed, those with an * are common during the appropriate season.
Black-necked grebe *, Bittern, Little bittern, Night heron *, Cattle egret *, Squacco heron, Great white egret *, Purple heron *, Gargany *, Black Kite *, Montagu's harrier *,(above) Marsh harrier *,Goshawk, Honey buzzard *, Short-toed eagle *, Osprey *, Hobby, Quail *, Common crane *, Stone curlew *, Black-winged stilt *, Little stint, Spotted redshank *, Greenshank *, Wood sandpiper, Whiskered tern *, Black tern *, Nightjar *, European bee-eater *, Hoopoe *, Black woodpecker, Middle spotted woodpecker *, Woodlark *, Crested lark, Tawny pipit, Water pipit *, Nightingale *, Black redstart *, Fan-tailed warbler *, Savi's warbler *, Cetti's warbler *, Great reed warbler, Melodious warbler *, Bonelli's warbler *, Firecrest *, Crested tit *, Short-toed treecreeper *, Red-backed shrike *, Woodchat shrike, Golden oriole *, Serin * and Cirl bunting *.


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