There are 3 different trails to observe birdlife at the Parc du Marquenterre
Stop off at the Parc de Marquenterre just like thousands of migratory birds on their way between Scandinavia and Maruitania ! This Nature Reserve at the heart of the Baie de Somme covers 200 hectares of dunes, woodland and marshes, a great place for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
The green trail takes 45 minutes, the blue one takes 1½ hours and the red one is 2 hours. There are 13 hides to watch the birds without being seen and a team of passionate naturalist guides to help you understand the environment, identify birds, recognise their songs and discover the vast food store for birds from all around the world.
Each period of the year offers different discoveries : during the winter months ducks, coots and geese can be seen on the lake. February to May is the time of prenuptial migration when the birds leave their winter quarters for nesting sites in Northern Europe. From March to July visitors can marvel at birds building their nests, sitting on their eggs then fledglings hatching. August to November is the time for postnuptial migration, a cross-over period between late nesters and early migrators.
My favourite time of year is spring during the Festival de l’Oiseau, when wading birds like storks, spoonbills and egrets chatter away non-stop in the heronry. I also like winter when the park is quiet and at Hide n° 6 you can get warm beside the stove and have a hot drink with the guides.
Two pieces of advice : don’t forget your binoculars and don’t leave without tasting food cooked by Benoît the chef at the Tablée du Marquenterre. He cooks using fresh local produce like mussels from beds just a few hundred metres away.
Helpful hint : come at 10.30 or at 14.00 to benefit from a special introduction from a nature guide.
Discovering the Estuary of the Baie de Somme
If you prefer exploring the wide open spaces on horseback, Henson Riding Centre is just a stone’s throw from the park. It specialises in breeding Hensons, gentle horses from the Baie de Somme which are ideal for beginners.
The Parc du Marquenterre is open every day all year round but weekends only November – February. It is at Saint-Quentin-en-Tourmont, at the northern tip of the Baie de Somme, not far from Rue (railway station).
Explore the Somme with Gites de France Somme : Baie de Somme, Gardens and Abbey at Valloires, Cathedral of Notre-Dame d’Amiens, Les Hortillonnages.