It is home to one of the largest wetlands in France and Europe: 20,000 ha of marshlands make it a much loved playground for birds, whether they are migrating or during the mating season. Grab your binoculars!
International recognitionThe wetlands of Brière Regional Nature Park were granted « Ramsar Site » status for their role in water bird conservation. This international approval was created to preserve the biodiversity of the most remarkable wetland regions on earth. In 2006, to ensure that the biological heritage and features of the area created by both nature and man were maintained, Brière was also designated a Special Protection Area for birds within the European Natura 2000 network. It thus became one of several thousand sites in Europe dedicated to preserving biodiversity, while taking into account the economic, sociologicaland cultural elements affecting the area.
Winter in BrièreLakes, lakeside areas and submerged water meadows welcome a great variety of water birds, mostly waterfowl (mallard, shoveller, teal), waders (common snipe, lapwing) and long-legged wading birds (grey heron, egret). The marsh harrier is one of the most regularly seen birds of prey.
SpringCome the spring these shallow waterways burst forth with plant life. Some plants grow tall and move gracefully in the currents others carpet the water’s surface (duckweeds, European frog’s-bit…) or open out their colored petals (water lilies, bladderworts). In the heart of this vegetation aquatic insects, amphibians and fish provide a well-stocked pantry for many species of bird (terns, herons, coots...) and mammals such as the otter. But in recent decades this wealth has come under threat. Since 1990 the Louisiana crayfish has invaded this ecosystem causing devastation to the aquatic plant life and subsequently seriously disrupting the food chains.
SummerLong-legged wading birds occupy the lakes as they dry up : spoonbill, great egret and little egret are the most common. The emerging mudflats are alive with migrating sandpipers and lesser yellowlegs (green sandpiper,
greenshank, common sandpiper).
With the coming of autumn, the movement of migratory birds intensifies with the passing of swallows, wheatears and other finches. Later, depending on the rainfall and speed with which the ponds and mudflats of the lower marshes become submerged, the number of snipe, teal and shoveller can be quite substantial. Some years, a cold winter results in an arrival of birds from the north when wild geese, widgeon, curlew and plovers
enliven the stretches of marshland.
The Regional Nature ReserveThe « Marais de Brière » is a conservation area of 836ha divided into 3
geographical zones which are home to numerous species of birds.
One of the zones, the Pierre Constant RNR at Rozé, Saint-Malo-de-Guersac, is open to the public and has a visitor centre and observation hides.
Discover the enchanting views from the viewing platform of the observatory, revel in the silence and the beauty of the countryside dotted here and there with church steeples. Depending on the time of year and weather conditions, many species of dabbling ducks (shoveller, gadwall and mallard), long-legged wading birds (heron, African sacred ibis and spoonbill) and passerines (wagtail, bluethroat ,sedge warbler and reed bunting) may be
observed on lakes and in neighbouring reed beds throughout the Reserve. The atmosphere varies from subdued tranquillity to all manner of cacophony, which can take you by surprise !
The RNR is open to the public all year round. Guided tours are available, if required. Sorry, no dogs !
You would like to know more?We invite you to consult this english guide to learn more about species and their specificities.
Where to watch birds ?