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“Cap Fréhel seabirds” outing

It is one of the most beautiful ornithological reserves in Brittany and the ideal spot for a nature outing in the Côtes d'Armor.

With its spectacular cliffs, Cap Fréhel is home to many species of seabirds.

Here we are ready for a guided tour in the heart of this natural space with exceptional landscapes. One thing is certain, the seabirds of Cap Fréhel will have (almost) no more secrets for us. Are you following us?

Duration of the visit: 2 hours

Guide's advice : The next outings dedicated to bird watching will take place during the Easter holidays on the Grand Site Cap d'Erquy-Cap Fréhel. This is the ideal time for this visit sincein April, the nesting is normally finished and the young thus come out of their nest !

Belvoix Mauritius
Florence Brivot

Follow the guide!

This is foot of the Cap Fréhel lighthouse that our guide welcomes us. Neither one nor two, we end up with a pair of binoculars around our necks! Unaccustomed to these optical tools, we listen carefully to his explanations. The guide leads the way towards the Fauconnière observation post. We have 2 hours to understand everything about the seabirds of Cap Fréhel: challenge accepted !

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Spot 1: sea gulls and crested cormorants

Leaving the lighthouse behind us, we branch off to the right to reach the first explanatory panels dedicated to Great Black-backed Gullss and to crested shags. It's here, on theislet of Fauconnière, which can be observed. After some theoretical information, place to practice! And for this part, Binoculars and spotting scopes are a must!

It is difficult to say if the birds are bickering over the nest or if they are mating. Fortunately, our guide is there to enlighten us on the behavior of these seabirds of Cap Fréhel. Courtship and territory defense: the show is captivating. The walk has barely begun and already, we understand better the gregarious life of these bird colonies ! It's time to get acquainted with new species.

Belvoix Mauritius
Belvoix Mauritius

Spot 2: penguins and seagulls

A few steps are enough to reach the second observation spot! Here, we are looking for two-tone birds with short wings and small size, our eyes deep in our binoculars. The Torda Penguins, a little stockier than the others, have a flattened beak adorned with a white line. Here are the indications we have to recognize them! The guide tells us that 22 to 31 couples are listed here. We will have to show a little bit of patience before seeing these adorable birds who seem to be dressed in an elegant tuxedo. What a treat for the pupils!

Some of us confuse them with Common Guillemots, a slightly more slender species of penguin, which can also be seen here. Their particularity? They do not make a nest and lay a single pear-shaped egg, to prevent it from rolling down the slopes. A rather logical curiosity when you see that 85% of the national breeding population of this species is found in the vertical cliffs of Cap Fréhel! And it is the expert who says it.

Jonathan Cannon - Pixabay
Chris Stenger Pixabay

It is under the ball of kittiwakes (recognizable by their black legs) and the indications of our guide that we leave this enchanting spot in Brittany.

Spot 3: Northern fulmars at the Pointe de Jas

All left! After 7 to 10 minutes of walking, we arrive at the level of the point of Jas. It is here, on the side of the cliff, that our guide takes us to observe the Northern Fulmars. Once again, some theoretical notions come to introduce the practice. Something to arouse our curiosity and give us some keys to understanding what we observe through the lenses of our binoculars. We would almost become experts!

The guide tells us that these birds are only on the ground at the time of reproduction. It exists 13 to 15 pairs identified, nesting on the ledges of Cap Fréhel, in Brittany

Ronan Gladu
The Storytellers
The Storytellers
It's already the end of the visit! find here the agenda of activities offered by the Grand Site Cap d'Erquy-Cap Fréhel!

The 7 commandments for the visit

Before any nature outing, it is good to remember the few rules to respect to preserve the environment! So here are the 7 commandments for your visit:

  1. Park your vehicle or your bikes in the places provided and indicated for this purpose
  2. Respect the fauna and flora, do not pick flowers
  3. Stay on marked trails : shortcuts promote erosion and trampling of vegetation
  4. Travel only on foot on the coastal paths, respect the regulations in force
  5. Bring a bag to take away your rubbish
  6. Avoid hiking with your dog, or keep it on a leash
  7. Do not generate noise useless
The Storytellers Agency

Cap Fréhel: the exceptional spot in Brittany!

It is in 2019 that Cap Fréhel becomes, with Cap d'Erquy, the 19th Grand Site of France. Its pink sandstone cliffs dominating the sea rise to more than 70 meters in height. Natura 2000 classified, it is home to exceptional flora and fauna, inviting young and old to contemplate.

Below the Cape, the rock is part of the rFauconnière bird sanctuary : it is the 2nd reserve of the Côtes d'Armor after the Sept-Iles. A place of niche and nesting place for hundreds of birds !

The cliffs of Cap Fréhel are also a privileged site for studying offshore species (from the high seas) which approach the shores for reproduction in Brittany.

The numbers of the expert:

8 species of seabirds are faithful to their breeding sites on Cap Fréhel
About 1 million birds find refuge there from February to mid-July
The secret corner of the birds of Saint-Jacut-de-la-mer:

It is off the Ébihens archipelago, in Saint-Jacut-de-la-Mer, that the ornithological reserve of the Colombière islet is located. Here nest 4 species of terns in spring and summer for reproduction. It is essential to leave this protected species alone because at the slightest disturbance, terns can leave their eggs at the mercy of predators and weather disturbances. Visiting the islet is therefore prohibited!

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