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The Loire valley (roughly the administrative region Region Centre) lies right in the heart of France. The grand river Loire flows right through the centre of the region. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to its high concentration of stunning castles and stately homes. This part of France is gentle in its topography, its scenery, its climate and, with the aid of fine wines and food, its general pace of life. Perhaps less known is the fact that this region also supports a mouth-watering flora and fauna.
The lakes of the Brenne and Sologne
Two major natural areas within the region are the Brenne and the Sologne both of which sport hundreds of marsh-fringed lakes. These lakes together form some of France's finest wetlands, with large populations of Purple and Night Herons, Little Bitterns, Whiskered Terns, Black-necked Grebes and much more
Because of these lakes and their rich birdlife, the region is well known amongst birdwatchers. But the avian interest extends far beyond the wetlands. The landscape is a patchwork of forests, heathlands, streams, unimproved, hedge-lined meadows and fields, where birdwatchers can meet with an extraordinary assemblage of birds. Hoopoes, Bee-eaters, Short-toed Eagles, Little Bustards and Rock Sparrows which could make you believe that you are somewhere deep in Spain. Yet Middle-spotted and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Red-backed Shrikes and Ospreys add a flavour of the east or the north. Yet the Loire Valley is neither in the deep south nor in the north or east, but a mere two hours drive from Paris.
...and much more
What goes for the avifauna holds true for the reptiles and amphibians (beauties like Green Lizard and Western Whip Snake), the flora (many orchids) and butterflies. The Loire and its tributaries is one of Europe's finest areas for dragonflies. And all this is can be enjoyed with the advantages of the civilized world just around the corner.
The Crossbill Guide to the Loire Valley - Loire, Brenne and Sologne (2011) shows you the most beautiful nature reserves and aids you in finding the most interesting, birds, plants, butterflies and dragonflies