La baie de l’Aiguillon is situated just north of La Rochelle and part of it is in Charente-Maritime and the northern part is in the Vendee. It is a major nature reserve, particularly because of the large numbers of wading birds.
I visited it in order to photograph, carallets at sunset. Plenty of carralets but just as the sun was setting a large black thunder-cloud spread across the sky and a pretty red or pink sunset was not forthcoming.
Along parts of this coast there is a road running right beside the sea. In places there are some low cliffs and the coast road runs along the top. In other places the road is below the cliffs and right next to the shore line. This is good if you want to spot the birds but not so good if you leave your vehicle and then the tide comes in. There are warnings that the area is liable to flooding but obviously some folks either did not read the signs or were distantly related to King Canute.
This is not the most attractive bit of coast line, there is quite a bit of shellfish industry with a few outlets selling mussels and oysters direct. Also a few restaurants but it is not really tourist country. There are quite a few camper vans and mobile homes parked up in some of the car parks but this is no doubt because it is free parking with overnight stays permitted and it’s quite close to La Rochelle. Were it to be more scenically attractive then I suspect the parking areas would not allow overnight stays.
I was not particularly on the lookout for birds, but I did see large flocks of gulls, most Black-headed but also lots of Herring gulls. There were Cormorants and Shell ducks passing by and along the shore line I saw quite a few Turnstones. No doubt had I have taken along a telescope then in the distance I might have spotted some more interesting species.
Whilst we were driving along I did see a group of Grey Partridges in one of the fields… Much nicer than the usual Red legged Partridge. The sign board gives you an idea of what other birds you might come across…All the usual suspects.
So worth a visit and a kilo of mussels fresh and cleaned only cost 3 euros.