We’ve been on a working holiday to the Charante Maritime in France and managed to squeeze in a couple of trips down to the wetlands on the D18 near St Jean D’Angle. There are loads of raptors down there, including kestrels, buzzards and marsh harriers, and smaller birds such as swifts, grey wagtails and flycatchers. You can drive through narrow tracks in between waterways containing stilts, mute swans, storks, little egrets, grey herons and coypu. It’s great to sit in the silence and watch the activity going on all around you.
Even closer to home near Pont L’Abbe, there are daily sightings of hen harriers and, given the scarcity of these magnificent raptors in England, I felt so privileged to see them hunting over the fields without any sign of persecution. On just one day, I saw two males and three or four females in the same area.
I hope that, one day, we will have a resurgence in our country and I won’t have to cross the channel to see them.