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Pointe de Chassiron - Saint-Denis-d'Oléron, Charente-Maritime (17)
Watchpoint
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The natural surroundings of the watchpoint

“Pointe de Chassiron” is the northwesternmost point of the Island of Oleron in Charente-Maritime. A lighthouse, constructed between 1834 and 1836, and a semaphore dominate the cliffs from the Upper Jurassic. The coastline is partially owned by the Conservatoire du Littoral and gazetted as a Natural Zone of Animal and Plant Ecological Interest (ZNIEFF). A series of information panels at the lighthouse gardens draw the visitors’ attention to special features of the Island of Oleron. At the low tide line, you will discover ancient stone-wall fish traps.
 
History of the survey
 
Migration watchers first visited the site in the 1990s and there have been regular autumn migration counts at Pointe de Chassiron ever since.
 
Ornithological interest
 
This is an interesting autumn seawatch point, particularly when the wind blows from the west or the north (Gannets, shearwaters, skuas, storm-petrels, Fulmars, Sabine’s Gulls). Southern winds, on the other hand, favour passerine migration (swallows and martins, pipits and wagtails, finches…). From November onward, Brent Geese, divers, grebes and Red-Breasted Mergansers are frequently observed. Meadows and bushes near the lighthouse hold a good variety of passerines (flycatchers, Phylloscopus warblers, pipits…).  
 
Migration calendar
 
There is a migration survey from August to December (on average once a week) and irregular visits from March to May.  
 
Visitors
 
There is no permanency at the watchpoint, but dedicated seawatchers show up most weekends.  
 
How to get there?
 
Take the bridge to the Island of Oleron and cross the entire island following the main road. Stop at the lighthouse car park. Walk on to the cliff edge in front of the lighthouse and semaphore. The site is accessible for disabled and elderly visitors.
 
Where to stay and where to eat ?
 
You will find useful information here : www.st-denis-oleron.com
 
Contact
 
Olivier Laluque
 
Groupe LPO 17
21 rue de Vaugouin
17 000 LA ROCHELLE
Phone/Fax/Answering machine : 05 46 50 92 21
E-Mail : mailto:charente-maritime@lpo.fr
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