Captieux shooting range
The « camp militaire du Poteau » or Captieux shooting range is a site of major importance for birds.
The Common Crane is the emblematic species of this site as it can host up to 10% of the european population of this species. It is also a very important place for the Eurasian Curlew, especially in its lower parts.
Located in the eastern part of the Landes plateau, on the territory of 6 communes (Retjons, Lencouacq, Luxey, Callen, Lucmau and Captieux), on two depatments (Landes and Gironde), this military site is mainly used by the French air forces for training. It covers 9175 hectares.
This was an isolated and unhealthy place and, therefore, it was chosen to create a shooting range. Pastoralism was in decline in this sandy and marshy part of the Landes plateau which is situated on two main watersheds and it would have been too expensive to drain the area to grow pinetrees. Drainage works have improved the accessibility to this place without altering the relict original landscapes created by sheep grazing, that you no longer find anywhere else in this region. These landscapes are associated with different types of natural or man-made wetlands (e.g. artificial ponds).
(Documents d’objectifs Site natura2000 FR 7200723 « Champ de tir de Captieux)
Watching cranes :
Cranes can be watched at sunrise when they leave their roosting place or in the evening when they come back from the nearby corn fields where they usually feed. Seing thousands of cranes in their noisy V-shaped flights is an unforgettable moment. To make the best of this scene, which can be different every day, we advise you to stay in one of the gîtes (B and B’s) which are involved in the ecotouristic project of the « Landes de Gascogne ». Your guests will put you information about Cranes and their migrations, bird-watching equipment, maps… at your disposal.
Birdwatching weekends are also organized for those who want to discover more, to share exclusive moments and to exchange with other people.
To ensure the preservation of the Common Crane on our territory, partners have federated since 1992 in a project of study, protection, information and ecotouristic development.