The landscape at the Parc Ornithologique du Marquenterre is beautiful and strange: all dunes, tamarisks and pine forest, full of salty meres and ponds, thick with water plants and birdlife. There’s a choice of walking itineraries – two longer, more interesting walks (2–3hr) and a shorter one (roughly 1hr 30min). On both you can see dozens of species – ducks, geese, oyster-catchers, terns, egrets, redshanks, greenshanks, spoonbills, herons, storks, godwits – most taking a breather from their epic migratory flights. In April and May they head north, returning from the end of August to October; in early summer the young chicks can be spotted. You can rent binoculars or talk to the guides at some of the observation huts, who set up portable telescopes and will tell you about the nesting birds.

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