Day Two of my First French trip of 2020

With plenty of good local sites to visit we don’t normally travel far for our birding but today we had decided to go to the Dunkerque and Calais areas. Again we set off in the dark and arrived at the docks in Dunkerque in good time. I am a fan of industrial landscapes so there was plenty for me to see and enjoy. Several areas were mentioned in our birding sites book ad we visited three of them. The main one being the canal that links the main dock area to the see where we hoped to find plenty of both divers and grebes. We didn’t getting just Great Crested and Little Grebe and no divers. There were several Red-breasted Merganser and a lot of gulls with five species seen. On one of the beaches along with some WW2 bunkers were Sanderling and Grey Plover and on the sea impressive numbers of Great crested Grebes. At the very least there were over four hundred including one raft of over a hundred birds. At the western docks we found a single Black-necked Grebe, and a good number of Curlew and Oystercatchers before, despite being alongside a public road, being moved on by the police.

Our next stop was Grand Fort-philippe where we had hoped to get some waders but found only gulls. It was then to the reserve at Platier d’Oye where again it was quiet but we did tot up thirty-eight species which included Spoonbill, several hundred Lapwing, Golden Plover, Snipe,Redshank, Cetti’s and on the sea from the beach, Common Scoter, Gannet, a couple of Red-throated Divers. Snow Bunting had been one of our target birds today but again we had no joy.

During the day we had a report of a Black Winged Kite seen in Picardie the previous day and we worked out that it had been seen fairly close to where we had been by a couple of birders that we had been speaking to at Les Renclotures. They had been parked at the other end of the site to us and we guessed had seen it on their way back to the car-park which was pretty annoying. So obviously that was where we would be heading on Friday morning.


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