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The birds of the Conquet estuary

GPS : 48°21'35.7 N   4°45'05.3" W

Please keep dogs on a leash

Tide times today: click below

Access : The site can be seen just before arriving at Le Conquet from the east. Park on the right in the picnic area.

  Coming from St-Renan or Brest, that is the first landscape offered by Le Conquet : at low tide, an immense expanse of halophilic plants, which do not hate seawater, such as salicornia, is crossed by a multitude of small narrow channels that snake between massive compact plants called here glazinoù (in Breton glazenn = lawn). At high tide, all this flora disappears under the waters that form a vast inlet in the inner harbour.

The Iroise Marine Natural Park and the Community of Municipalities have had explanatory signs affixed, which should be read to fully understand the interest of the site.

Redshank  © photo YL

Couple ofshelducks  © photo YL
Males can be recognized by their prominent knob on forehead

  A second picnic and observation area of the ria is located 200 m further towards the port. You can get there by car and park on the right near the lavoir. This location is more suitable for long watching.

 GPS: 48°21'33.8 N  4°45'28.6 W

An observation post has been set up on the edge of the ria. It allows you to see the birds without frightening them.

The place is a paradise for many species of birds that compete for their subsistence in water, sand or mud. Little egrets have settled there permanently and perch in the lower branches of felled trees bordering their daily canteen to the north. Shelducks groups also often meet here during the winter.

    The ria du Conquet was the usual appointment of a mute swan family until recently. Each year, the observers had pleasure in taking pictures of the adult couple evolving in the ria with their young ones. The female died in April 2018, attacked by a dog that its owner had not seen fit to keep on a leash. Since that day, it is touching to see the lonely male sadly waiting for the return of its partner...

The couple of mute swans  © photo Gérard Bosch

Sometimes, the mute swan can be seen with a migrating whooper swan. They swim well together but differ in their beak and tail length.  © photo YL

   It is also not uncommon to see a few curlews in the ria with long bent beaks and exceptionally a large eurasian spoonbill hungry for long hours of flight.

Curlew   © photo Roland Granger
It is common in winter at Le Conquet where it lands in flocks on the mudflat apart from the other birds.

Curlew  © Photo Serge Kergoat

Spoonbill fishing  © photo YL

Eurasian spoonbill  © Photo Serge Kergoat

Turnstone  © photo YL

Oystercatcher  © photo YL

Little egret  © photo Roland Granger

Young razorbill  © photo YL
It took refuge in the port of Le Conquet after a winter storm, but it is more used to the northern coasts. It can be spotted by its black cap and the white bar on its wings.

   Most often, it is shorebirds, eurasian oystercatchers with incessant cries, ruddy turnstones and stilt sandpipers always in a hurry, that make the happiness of amateur ornithologists who come to observe them.

The favorite area of the black-headed gull is Kerjan pond, right next.

You can often see an immobile heron a grey heron watching for prey and, when you are lucky, a kingfisher crisscrossing the shore in an iridescent flash.

Grey heron   © photo Roland Granger

The gates and the pond of Kerjan

In March 2016, we could see this lost white pelican on the pond of Kerjan.
In fact, he had escaped from Branféré Zoo in Morbihan, where he was politely brought back.
© Photo Gérard Bosch

  It is possible to continue walking around the ria at low tide. See tide schedules at the top of this page.

If you have taken pictures of birds in the ria of Le Conquet, do not hesitate to send them to us by mail so that we could insert them in this page.

  Serge Kergoat is the author of several illustrations of this page. He also gave us the photo of the flight of spoonbills adorning our home page. He is an artist-illustrator and an avid ornithologist. He published with Jean-Yves Barzic, journalist-poet Bigouden, a delicious collection of poems on the birds of Breton rivers, which he illustrated in an original and simply superb way :

Ed. Serge Kergoat
29570 Camaret sur mer
18x15,5, 70 p


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