The artificial lakes produced by the dams cover a large superficy (several square kilometres). The entire area is surrounded by trails and there are many excellent vantage points looking over the various lakes. Furthermore, there are many parking areas, bicycle rentals, and several restaurants around the lakes.
The largest and deepest lake is the westernmost Plate Taille, which in the winter frequently harbours uncommon species such as the Black-necked Grebe, Great Northern Diver (Common Loon), Black-throated Diver (Arctic Loon), or Velvet Scoter. Hundreds of birds of more common species are present on the water at most hours of the day, such as Common Teal, Tufted Duck, and Eurasian Wigeon.
The southernmost lake Falemprise is commonly occupied in the winter by Common Goldeneye, Common Pochard, and occasionnally small groups of Whooper Swan.
The "middle" lake, l'Eau d'Heure proper, may have in addition to the above species stray individuals of the species Greater Scaup, Smew, Goosander or occasionally geese such as Greylag Goose and Greater White-fronted Goose.
The woods surrounding the entire area are also quite rich in species, including notably Siskin, Eurasian Bullfinch, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, and Eurasian Nuthatch.
The entire site is also replete with seagulls of various species and common waterfowl such as Mallard, Tufted Duck, Eurasian Coot, Gadwall and Tufted Duck.
Unfortunately because of the important disturbances by high tourism in the spring and summer, there is little to observe at those seasons.
It is a half hour drive from Charleroi, most notably through route de Philippeville and the N5. The entire site is surrounded by large paved paths that can be travelled on by foot or by bicycle, and numerous small parking areas allow travel by car between distant areas of the lake for easier observation.
Terrain and HabitatForest, Grassland, Valley, Plateau, Lake, River, Agriculture
ConditionsHilly, Flat, Open landscape
Is a telescope useful?Yes
Good birding seasonWinter
Best time to visitWinter
RoutePaved road, Wide path
Difficulty walking trailEasy
Accessible byFoot, Bicycle, Wheelchair, Car
Birdwatching hide / platformNo
Les étangs de Roly is about a quarter of an hour away from there, although they are a private area it is still possible to observe the ponds from the side of the road as long as one doesn't enter the main path.
L'étang de Virelles is also about twenty minutes away to the south and is a well known birding area with great species diversity all year round.