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Wildlife reserves – a bird’s paradise is Southern Vendée

Posted the 15 April 2021
Culture & heritage

One of the most outstanding wildlife reserves in the Vendée is in the bay of L’Aiguillon’s. It is renowned for its ecological wealth and its atypical flora and fauna. The exceptional wildlife reserve at Pointe d’Arçay is a site for migratory birds of international importance as well as being a beautiful place. Equally impressive is the Michel Brosselin bird reserve, which is the destination for over 140 species of birds every year. And not forgetting an original biological nature reserve at Nalliers-Mouzeuil a veritable maze of canals and grassy roads shaped by man. Into which, many animals and plants have settled.

An outstanding wildlife reserve - the bay of l’Aiguillon, an ever-changing aerial show

The bay of L’Aiguillon is one of the most important bird reserve sites in France. It has been identified as an overwintering and stopover site for migrating birds of national and international importance.  

The bay is the meeting point of the canals and rivers , where draining work has taken place. It is a key element in the eco-logical balance of the Marais poitevin. The landscape changes with the rhythm of daily tides. From a bay dominated by extensive mud flats and salt marshes at low tide, to an almost total immersion of the bay at high tide, limited only by man-made dykes. 
 

The Wildlife Reserve of la Pointe d’Arçay at la Faute sur Mer 

The Pointe d'Arçay wildlife Reserve is a site for migratory avifauna of international importance. This sandy spit at La Faute sur Mer, some 5 km long, is a privileged spot for ornithologists. The Rade d'Amour observatory is open to the public, but only with guided tours. There, many different species of birds can be seen such as: blue throat, black kite, little egret, gray heron, shelduck, numerous waders, geese, and wintering ducks. 

Ancient communals, such as those near to Poiré sur Velluire, are also part of this fascinating landscape home to geese, cattle and horses.  

Michel Brosselin bird reserve. An ideal place for bird spotting!

The Michel Brosselin bird reserve is "the" destination for over 140 species of birds every year. Each season is exceptional and very different, with regards to the quantity and variety of species. To admire this spectacular swirling flurry is to spend time at the observatory.    

The two migration periods are from late February to May and then from late June until October. Many water birds flying to their summer or winter homes, fly along the coastline, stopping to rest in the most suitable areas of the marshlands. This bird reserve has an ideal environment, peaceful and calm, enabling visitors to observe various species:    

  • Black-Tailed Godwit 
  • Spoonbill 
  • Ruff 
  • Black-Winged Stilt 

In addition, many other species can also be seen, such as Green Sandpipers, Little Stints, Curlew Sandpipers, Redshanks, Little ringed Plovers as well as numerous birds of prey.   

It is possible in one single day to identify between 40 to 50 different species (except for passerines) during these periods.

Mouzeuil - Saint Martin – an original wildlife reserve

The Vendée’s biological nature reserve at Nalliers-Mouzeuil, today, remains a veritable maze of canals and grassy roads shaped by man. They lead visitors to the famous "huttiers". This was the name given to the habitants of the region. Reconstructions of their huts made from reeds and oak trees allow visitors to see what life was like in the 17th century. Information panels explain the life of these impressive self-sufficient workers, who lived off the land. Organising themselves, to have firewood, vines, water and food.   

Behind this exceptional site, water has created multiple environments, in which many animals and plants have settled. This Wildlife Reserve remains the ideal place to observe purple herons, kestrels, water shrews, water hens, dragonflies, genets or even otters. 

Two good hours are needed to visit this little gem of the Vendée natural heritage. The wild life reserve is a place of mysteries, that has inspired many artists and writers. A fragile legacy of an interesting history.   

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