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Pointe de Grave - Verdon-sur-Mer (Le), Gironde (33)
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In brief

Localisation:
City : Le Verdon-sur-Mer (Gironde, 33)
GPS (WGS84) : 45° 34' 16" N / 1° 3' 46" W / Altitude : ca. 4 m

Site characteristics:
Property of the Ministry for Defense
Important Bird Area in Europe
Classified for Natura 2000

Habitat:
Coastal dunes. This is a very sensitive environment. Made of sand only, the dunes are subject to wind and sea action, exposing them to a very strong erosion. It is therefore particularly important to follow the footpaths and to preserve the vegetation, which is the only protection against erosion.

Environment and natural surroundings

Pointe de Grave is situated at the northern extremity of the Medoc peninsula, between Bordeaux and the Atlantic Ocean, in front of the sity of Royan. This spring migration bottleneck at the mouth of the Gironde estuary has a major ornithological interest. Over the entire length of the peninsula, birds are funelled towards Pointe de Grave. Birds migrating along the shoreline will eventually meet those reluctant to cross the water and circumventing the estuary along its south bank. These two flows converge above Pointe de Grave before finally crossing the estuary towards Royan en route to Northern Europe and Siberia. Migration is more active with nice weather and a light northeasterly wind, but some migration peaks have occurred under heavy rain! In addition, its immediate surroundings allow the visitor to explore quite interesting dune and forest habitats as well as the Northern Medoc wetlands, where many species, including some remarkable ones, stop over or breed.

Ornithological interest, emblematic species

The most remarkable migrants include raptors, pigeons and doves, swallows, swifts and orioles. Seawatching is also possible. In addition, visits of the local Short-toed Eagle are not uncommon in May. Medoc, and Pointe de Grave, have long been the scene of intense poaching of doves in May. Although this outrageous situation has not yet fully reached its end, there have been significant improvements in recent years. The ambiance on the peninsula is much more relaxed now! 

History of the survey

LPO Aquitaine LPO Aquitaine ensures the survey at Pointe de Grave since 1984, assisted by SEPANSO and Organbidexka Col Libre. A migration camp is organized every year from mid-March (sometimes beginning of April) to the end of May. Several birders count daily, from dawn to dusk. The protocol is similar to the one used on the Basque mountain passes ("Transpyr"). The survey is currently sponsored by the following partners: Conseil Général de la Gironde, Conseil Régional d'Aquitaine, Fondation "Nature et Découvertes".

How to get there?

Pointe de Grave is quite easy to reach:
- By car, simply follow the signs to the ferry and continue on the same road for a few hundreds of meters after the ferry terminal.
- By train and bus,
SNCF ensures several communications a day from Bordeaux via Lesparre.
- By ferry leaving Royan (
see the schedules), Pointe de Grave is at a short walking distance from the terminal in Le Verdon. 

Visitors will be welcomed during the migration survey. Several walks and conferences are ensured by LPO-Aquitaine with the support of the Conseil Général de la Gironde (download 
the program
).

Medoc peninsula is a tourist destination in summer. Accommodation (hotels, campgrounds etc) is plentiful nearby and birders are most welcome.

Contact

LPO Aquitaine (Bègles) : +33.556.91.33.81 -  web site - mail
Tourist Office in Le Verdon : +33.556.09.61.78 - web site - mail

Observatoire Régional de la Migration des Oiseaux- LPO aquitaine-Organbidexka Col Libre, Erdoia 64120 LUXE-SUMBERRAUTE mailto:jeanpaulurcun.lpo@neuf.fr

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