Cotentin was almost an island at one time. Only a small strip of land in the heath of Lessay connected the peninsula with the mainland. Thanks to the so-called portes à flot (fr), which close at flood and open at ebb and which were built in the west coast and in the Baie des Veys, on the east coast, the Cotentin has become a peninsula.
The regional nature Park is located on the migration path of birds that leave northern Europe to winter on the African continent and thousands of migratory birds stop off in the regional nature Park during the winter.
The oldest stone in France is found in outcroppings on the coast of Cap de la Hague, at the tip of the peninsula.
It is located to the east of the Cotentin peninsula just off the coast near Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue. It is almost uninhabited, and is usually reached by amphibious craft although, being a tidal island, it is also possible to walk there over the local oyster beds at low tide. Access to the island is limited to 500 visitors per day.
The island is a stopping place for many migrating birds, including the herring gull, great black-backed gull, common shelduck, little egret, eider, wigeon and yellow-legged gull.
Currents carrying sand and pebbles closed the original cove and resulted in the formation of this coastal pond fed by streams.
One theory is that they would have taken a frigatebird (Fregata) with them. These birds refuse to land on the water as their feathers will become waterlogged making it impossible to fly. When the voyagers thought they were close to land they may have released the bird, which would either fly towards land or else return to the canoe
The five extant species are classified in a single genus, Fregata. All have predominantly black plumage, long, deeply forked tails and long hooked bills. Females have white underbellies and males have a distinctive red gular pouch, which they inflate during the breeding season to attract females. Their wings are long and pointed and can span up to 2.3 metres (7.5 ft), the largest wing area to body weight ratio of any bird.
Able to soar for weeks on wind currents, frigatebirds spend most of the day in flight hunting for food, and roost on trees or cliffs at night.
The Fregatidae are a sister group to Suloidea which consists of cormorants, darters, gannets, and boobies.
Frigatebirds were grouped with cormorants, and sulids (gannets and boobies) as well as pelicans in the genus Pelecanus by Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae. He described the distinguishing characteristics as a straight bill hooked at the tip, linear nostrils, a bare face, and fully webbed feet....
...Martyn Kennedy and colleagues derived a cladogram based on behavioural characteristics of the traditional Pelecaniformes, calculating the frigatebirds to be more divergent than pelicans from a core group of gannets, darters and cormorants, and tropicbirds the most distant lineage. The classification of this group as the traditional Pelecaniformes, united by feet that are totipalmate (with all four toes linked by webbing) and the presence of a gular pouch, persisted until the early 1990s. The DNA–DNA hybridization studies of Charles Sibley and Jon Edward Ahlquist placed the frigatebirds in a lineage with penguins, loons, petrels and albatrosses
Cabotage can be loosely defined as shipping cargo along the coast from port to port and this is our inspiration for this year’s delivery of organic olive oil and whole olives from Porto to Newhaven, as well as Fleur de Sel sea salt from the Breton island of Noirmoutier. Derived from Cabo, Portuguese for headland, the Caboteurs of the 1873 engineless sailing ketch Nordlys will deliver our cargo from Porto, via Noirmoutier, to Brixham in the south west. From there we will transfer the cargo to our own Jalapeno and set sail for Newhaven.
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