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Somme Estuary - BirdForum Opus

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With a bird collection, information centre and picnic area close by this is a reserve for all the family.

On the north coast of France, this area has marshes, saltings and extensive mudflats at low tide, further inland are woodland and farmland.


Notable Species

Waders are attracted here in large numbers during passage periods and in winter, and all the commoner north European species occur. In addition there are waterfowl including Greylag Goose, Northern Pintail and Garganey in summer, Dark-bellied Brent Goose on passage and Eurasian Wigeon in winter.

Severe weather in winter brings wild swans and sawbills in good numbers. Divers, grebes and seaducks commonly appear offshore and Purple Heron, White Stork and Eurasian Spoonbill often drop in on passage.

Both Snow Bunting and Horned Lark can be seen on the sandy shores. Peregrine Falcon and Merlin occur in winter, sometimes Rough-legged Buzzard, and Osprey on passage while Short-eared Owl hunt the marshes all year.

In summer the beaches are invaded by hordes of holiday-makers but the reserve has Great Bittern and, in recent years, Little Crake and Cattle Egret, Spotted Crake, harriers, Kentish Plover and Zitting Cisticola. European Nightjar breeds in inland areas and passerine breeders of interest include White-spotted Bluethroat, Nightingale and Crested Lark.


Birds you can see here include:

Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill, White Stork, Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Greylag Goose, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Eider, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Little Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Arctic Skua, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Roseate Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern, Short-eared Owl, European Nightjar, Common Kingfisher, Wood Lark, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Horned Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Water Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Common Nightingale, White-spotted Bluethroat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Savi's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Great Grey Shrike, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, Twite, Lesser Redpoll, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, Reed Bunting

Other Wildlife

To do

Site Information

Autumn brings the greatest variety of species but there is plenty to see throughout the year.

Areas of Interest

Baie de Somme

[Map]The Baie de Somme reserve is a Ramsar Site and situated on the north shore of the estuary adjacent to the Parc Ornithologique du Marquenterre for which there is an admission fee.

Le Crotoy

[Map]There is an area of sand-dunes to the south at Le Crotoy which is good for Crested Lark.

Access and Facilities

The Somme Estuary is easily reached by road from the Channel ports.

Marquenterre Bird Park is signposted from Abbeville, for Baie de Somme reserve head for Crotoy on the D260 and from there towards La Maye and after 1.5km park in the car-park overlooking the sea.

External Links


  1. Somme Estuary on OpenStreetMap
  2. Le Crotoy on OpenStreetMap

Content and images originally posted by Steve


V�mibimbero's review Hi:

There is a link about the birds-movements at this site, from 2004 august:

www.baiedesomme.org/html/fr/approche-carto/index_visite-oiseau.htm and look forward at the right side of the page: "Le comptage du parc", bilingual list in french and english from the observed bird species. There is a list only from the Parc Ornitologique de Marquenterre; at the Baie de Somme there are many thousands of other birds, especially gulls.

I will visit this site on this august so I will write more from my experiences in the future.



  • Quite big 3500 ha area at the river Somme and the coastline; thousands of gulls and waterbirds; spectacular! There are some good agricultural fields
  • fishponds
  • beautiful coastlines
  • tide areas.


  • Very crowded places with many hunters.