The Loire Valley is home to some exceptional flora and fauna, and is a stopover for migratory birds, inviting you to discover an unrivalled natural environment from its many observation points. Majestic forests and lakes attract a wide variety of bird species. Don’t forget your binoculars ! 

Observe the rich wildlife of the lakes and ponds of the Loire Valley

At the Etang de Beaumont in Neung-sur-Beuvron, there are many birds living among the irises and water-crowfoot. Learn to recognise them at the ornithological observatory, open all year round with free access and explanatory panels. Although grey herons and mallards live here all year round, each season has its own birds, like the black-headed gull in summer and the redshank in autumn. And in spring, watch how the black-necked grebe carries its young on its back! Find a guide to take you on a discovery trip and immerse you in this fabulous ecosystem. 

L.M Preau – CRT Centre-Val de Loire
Un Balbuzard
S. Sevrin – CRT Centre-Val de Loire
Un panneau de l'observatoir du Ravoir

At the Etang du Ravoir, in Ouzouer-sur-Loire, admire the ospreys circling over the Loire in search of fish! These birds of prey are characteristic of the forests of Orléans, and don’t stray far from the royal river. From the observation hut, see how they nest up in the treetops, some 30 metres above the ground! A breathtaking spectacle complete with explanatory fact sheets. Ideally, come on a Sunday morning when the weather is fine: a guide will lead your visit free of charge. 

Many other ponds and lakes have observatories worthy of note : the Etang des Levrys in Nouan-le-Fuzelier, the Lac de Pincemaille, also known as Lac de Rillé (an LPO observatory), or the observatory at the Réserve de Malzoné, in Millançay. 

Fauna and flora of the forests of the Loire Valley 

B. Quintard – CRT Centre-Val de Loire

In Nibelle, head to the top of the Colline des Caillettes, the highest point in the Orléans forest. 

Then climb the 150 or so steps to the belvedere. Your efforts will be richly rewarded: from the top of the 24-metre-high platform, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Ingrannes massif. An orientation table provides information about the surrounding forest, planted with chestnut, ash, oak and Corsican laricio pine trees. For a truly moving experience, come in the early hours of the morning, as nature awakens. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the three species of eagle found in the Orléans forest: the booted eagle, the short-toed snake eagle and the osprey. 

Un cerf dans une fôret
Domaine national de Chambord

You can also observe nature at the National Estate of Chambord. Its 5,540 hectares are home to not only a magnificent castle but also a number of observatories where you can watch deer, wild boar and foxes, well hidden in the forest, as well as birds, bats, dragonflies and salamanders. 

As well as the dedicated observatories, there are a large number of nature trails to observe animals. Like in the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Nature Park. This area is home to 200 species of birds, not to mention all the other small animals you might come across: beech martens, hedgehogs, squirrels, dragonflies… 

Just a stone’s throw from the Loire Valley, the Brenne Regional Nature Park and the Perche Regional Nature Park are also great places for birdwatching !

The Brenne Regional Nature Park is home to around 100,000 “individuals” of France’s largest population of tortoises, the European pond turtle. The 183,000-hectare “land of a thousand lakes” is also home to many species of migratory birds. Among them: the tern, purple heron, warbler, great egret, and many more.

A wide variety of landscapes awaits you at the Perche Regional Nature Park. From hedged farmland, to valleys, forests and lakes, nature lovers are well catered for. The park is home to around 164 species of birds, as well as numerous amphibians and mammals, including the emblematic Percheron horse.

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