Lake Der-Chnatecoq is the second largest artificial lake in Europe. It covers 48 km2 and can hold 350 million m3 of water. It was created in 1974 for the purpose of regulating flow of the Marne and Seine rivers and has become one of the best birding destinations in France and even in Europe.
Famous for its population of migrating Common Cranes (206,000 individuals counted on November 11th, 2014 !), it is a winter home to Whooper and Bewick’s Swans, thousands of Geese (Greylag, Great White-fronted and Bean), Ducks (more than 15 wintering species), Peregrine Falcon and White-tailed Sea-Eagle.
Thanks to its great variety of habitats ( marshes and lakes, old forests, pastures, large cereal fields…) this area is also ideal to watch birds in spring and summer. Up to 8 species of Ardeidae , White Stork, Black Kite, Marsh, Hen and Montagu’s Harriers, Eurasian Hobby,Little Owl, Common Hoopoe, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Great Reed Warbler, Red-backed and Woodchat Shrikes, Corn Bunting are some of the nesting species.
From August to October, as the lake dries out, it attracts large numbers of migrating birds : waders (more than 20 species), Osprey, Black Sork, Northern Wheatear… and rarer species to look for include Short-toed Eagle and Caspian Tern.