Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur; 85,000 ha; 43º30N 004º30E. Biosphere Reserve, Special Protection Area EC Directive; National Reserve, Regional Natural Park, Hunting Reserve. The Rhône River delta, incorporating vast expanses of permanent and seasonal lagoons, lakes and ponds interspersed with extensive Salicornia flats, freshwater marshes, and a dune complex.(over 850 square kilometeres. It remains one of the finest wetlands in western Europe which are, subject to a salinity gradient, partly supplied by rainfall, but the main source is groundwater pumped to sustain irrigated agriculture. The Camargue is of international importance for nesting, staging and wintering waterbirds. Among the various breeding species are Ardeidae (herons, bitterns, etc.), with extremely large numbers of Anatidae (ducks, geese, swans, etc.) occurring in winter. Human activities include tourism, hunting, fishing, agriculture and raising livestock. Ramsar site no. 346.
Over 350 species have been recorded including many rarities and although the Camargue has all year round bird interest, April / May will certainly provide the visiting birder with around 150 of those recorded. Remnants wintering waders are joined by passage migrants and returning breeding species.
Species highlights include;- Purple Heron, Bittern, Flamingo, Western Reef Heron, Little Egret, Great-white Egret, Little Bittern, Glossy Ibis, Night Heron, Black Tern, Whiskered Tern, Slender-billed Gull, White-winged black Tern, Bee-eater, Golden Oriole, Cirl Bunting, Woodchat Shrike, Great Reed Warbler, Red-crested Pochard in winter. We strongly recommend A Birdwatching guide to France South of the Loire (including Corsica. It has an excellent section on birding in the Camargue, with locations for the birds mentioned above.