- Birdwatching - France, Massif Central.
Gîte : Lou Coucaye ~ A gite for ornithologists
The hamlet of Chazieux, near St. Ilpize,
is situated right in the heart of the Haut Val d'Allier
bird preservation area, a wonderful area for birders and birdwatchers.
The area is currently in designated
as a "Special Protection Zone" (Z.P.S.)
(equivalent of a UK SSSI) under the
"Birds directive" of
European Natura 2000 Programme.
The Haut Val d'Allier is
also designated as a protected habitat area. The Haute Loire
des Oiseaux" (bird information centre - with organised bird watching
is located at Lavoûte Chilhac, just 7 km away by bike or on
4x4, or 12 km by the road. Below we list some of the many
notably the birds of prey, that frequent or nest in the zone.
toed eagles - Chazieux has one of Europe's largest
short toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
The area around Chazieux has one of Europe's largest nesting
of short toed eagles. Some 30 - 38 pairs nest in the
Z.P.S. . Visitors to
Coucaye can often watch these small eagles circling overhead, then
towards the ground, their wings folded back at almost 90°. In
recent summers, at least four of these magnificent birds could often be
seen in the sky above
Chazieux at the same time..
significant birds nesting in the Zone.
- The Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) (15
nesting pairs in the area)
- The Hobby (Falco
subbuteo) (10 - 15 nesting pairs)
- The Hoopoe ( Upupa epops)
- The Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
- The Orphean Warbler (Sylvia hortensis)
- The Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) and the
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
- The Golden Oriole
Photo by Jennifer Sjolund. A short toed eagle, photographed from
the terrace of the gite.
gite Lou Coucaye (holiday cottage) and the area (click here).
|Other birds nesting in the zone and
designated for special protection:
Name (number of nesting paris in the zone)
Woodlark (200 - 500) ( Lullula arborea)
Honey Buzzard (50 - 100) (Pernis apivorus)
Ortolan Bunting ( 10 - 20) (Emberiza hortulana)
Montagu's harrier ( 10 - 20) (Circus pygargus)
Marsh harrier ( 10 - 20) (Circus cyaneus)
Nightjar ( 100 - 200) (Caprimulgus europaeus)
Peregrine Falcon ( 4) (Falco peregrinus)
Eagle Owl ( 24 - 25) (Bubo bubo)
Kingfisher ( 10) (Alcedo Atthis)
Black Kite ( 40 - 100) (Milvus migrans)
Red Kite ( 50 - 100 ) (Milvus milvus)
Black woodpecker ( 50 - 100) (Dryocopus martius)
Grey-headed woodpecker ( 2 - 10) (Picus canus)
Raven (20 - 25)
Tengmalm's Owl ( 0 - 5) (Aegolius funereus)
|Other protected birds that have
been recorded recently (or regularly) in the area:
Booted eagle (Hieraetus pennatus)
Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Hen harrier (circus aeruginosus)
White stork (ciconia ciconia)
Black stork (ciconia nigra)
Merlin (falco colombarius)
Red footed falcon (falco vespertinus)
Dartford Warbler (sylvia undata)
Crane (grus grus)
Short eared owl (asio flammeus)
Little gull (larus minutus)
Tawny pippit (anthus campestris)
Griffon vulture (gyps fulvus)
(Griffon vultures are slowly migrating out from the Tarn gorge area
where they were intially reintroduced in the late 20th century)
birds (among many others) that can be seen regularly in and around
Buzzards, kestrels, sparrowhawks.
Bullfinches, goldfinches and others
Great tits, coal tits
Green woodpeckers, greater spotted woodpeckers
the Haut Val
d'Allier is situated 100 km south
of the city of Clermont Ferrand, and runs from the town of Brioude in
north, to south of Langeac.
Chazieux is situated about mid-way between Brioude and Langeac.
Access: French motorways A 71 to Clermont Ferrand, then continue on A
Exit at junction 20. Travel time from Calais: 8 to 9 hours.
More about Birds in
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