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Soulac Beach House

A "New England-style" holiday rental for 6 in Soulac sur Mer, Gironde coast, SW France

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The Beach House makes a great base for birding breaks. Pointe de Grave, just 5 miles up the coast, is a major migration hotspot and the LPO has a regular migration count here from early March until late May. The dunes at the point provide a spectacular vantage point of the spring migration as birds following the coastline are funnelled towards the Gironde river crossing. Hundreds of thousands of swallows, martins, swifts pass overhead. Ospreys, kites, harriers, peregrines, hobbies, merlins, as well as rarer honey buzzards, short-toed eagle, goshawks, bee-eaters, purple herons, cuckoos, golden orioles, pass through with along with storks, waders, black-winged stilts, wagtails – over 150 species in 2010.Hoopoes and wheatears frequently take a breather in the car park below the dune, before tackling the crossing.It is also worth checking out the marsh/reedbed area to the right of the main road (behind housing) as you leave the point.

 

TheMarais de Conseillerjust south of Le Verdon is a local nature reserve of former oyster beds and saltpans – home to over 80 bird species, including many waders. Visits are organised by CURUMA (details from Le Verdon Tourist Office).

 

 

But you don't need to leave the Beach House to birdwatch - the deck provides a good vantage point for our garden birds, including nesting blue & great tits, firecrests, crested and long-tailed tits and jays, as well as red squirrels and the occasional deer. Owls, cuckoos & hoopoes can be heard all around in the woods, and bats provide evening entertainment.

 

 

  

The dunes are home to crested larks, and wheatears in the autumn. Sea-watching is good too. The Dune d'Amelie is a local nature reserve to the south of Soulac a protected dune habitat –good for nightingales & woodpeckers, as well as typical dune flora & fauna. The marshes & polders near Talais & St Vivien are home to all 3 species of harriers. Watch out for bluethroats, shrikes and nightingales too.

 

 

 

Storks nest in an old tree close to road between Valeyrac & St Christoly. Lakes & reedbeds between Grayan l’Hopital & Vendays are home to marsh harriers, herons & warblers, whilst the area around Jau-et-Dignac is the nesting site of the rare short-toed eagle and also bee-eaters.

There are other reserves further to the south – Lac de Contaut, near Hourtin, & the Etang de Cousseau, near Lacanau. A day trip away is the on the Bay of Arcachon, the Gironde's equivalent of Minsmere.Park Ornithologique du Teich