DORDOGNE BUTTERFLY BIRDWATCHING WILDLIFE DAY TRIPS AND TOURS

WILD

Dordogne

la roque gageac

Dordogne Wildlife Diary

  • Asp Viper

    This is the southern counterpart of the Common Adder in the UK. They are never easy to see (as this photo proves). However carefully checking sunny banks (especially with old metal buckets!) at this time of year, especially in the morning can sometimes be successful. It is the only poisonous species of seven found in Dordogne. This was a very attractive individual with a bit of a look of a rattlesnake about it.

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  • White Asphodel

    White Asphodel is a striking tall robust and beautiful flower with a thick stem and strappy leaves, emanating from tuber-like roots. Flowering early (in April and early May) they are missed by many summer tourists here which is a shame. The species is normally found in the mountains of central Europe but here grow in the lowlands on sandy soil. Sometimes they appear amongst limestone flora where a narrow sandy seam occurs, making their appearance even more dramatic and unexpected.

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  • Columbine

    Columbine is such a pretty plant and when I found this little troop of plants near Condat I had to photograph them.

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  • a carpet of White Rockrose

    You might be excused for thinking that this view with a carpet of White Rockrose was from somewhere like the Cevennes, but in fact it was from the dry stony hills around Condat and Terrasson in Dordogne. Normally I only see relatively small patches of this species in Dordogne but this view gives an idea of how more extensive areas might have once looked in Dordogne before rough grazing with sheep, goats and cattle disappeared from the mid 19th century and especially post-2nd World War.

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  • Green-winged Orchid

    The Green-winged orchid is our commonest early flowering orchid and can be found almost anywhere even away from the limestone. It is often mistaken for the Early Purple Orchid as it is early and purple. However the leaves aren't spotted and the upper petals and sepals are lined horizontally in green (this shows best on the scarce white variety). The Green-winged Orchid grows in open grassland whereas the Early Purple is often under trees or on the woodland edge.

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  • Alpine Squill

    The Alpine Squill is a pretty spring flower I found recently in a wood on limestone at Cause de Clerans - thanks to Corine Oosterlee, a Dutch lady and local botanist. It doesn't appear to grow wild in UK but is restricted to France and Germany and grows in lowlands as well as mountains.

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  • female Orange-tip having a rest...

    When I was a little boy in England this was one of my favourite butterflies, well the male with the "orange tips" really. But the female goes almost forgotten as people see "another cabbage white" flit by. In fact when you look at it in detail it is rather a pretty little butterfly and not just plain black and white. The underside hindwings have very delicate green and white marbling like the male. They lay there eggs on various wild members of the cabbage family like Lady's Smock (Cuckoo Flower) The species is a harbinger of better summer days to come...which is never a bad thing. In the Mediterranean there is an exotic yellowish species.

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  • Record number of Rock Sparrows on Faux Plateau!

    Even seeing it I couldn't quite believe it myself - 62 Rock Sparrows on the wires yesterday by the main road at Montaut. Normally I see one or two, perhaps a small flock if I am lucky. It appears that the farming on Faux Plateau is still favourable to some of the specialist wildlife.

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  • Crossbill Guide Dordogne - the book is finally published today

    Well D-day has finally arrived (delivery-day from the printers of 2000 copies of the Crossbill Guide Dordogne to Crossbill Offices in Holland). So I feel that I should mark it with a quick post. It's been written on and off over the last five years by myself and a local French naturalist Frank Jouandoudet. With over 250 pages it covers the landscape, flora and fauna, history and nature conservation and includes 21 routes and 23 additional sites to best observe the wildlife. Illustrated in full colour with lots of photos - mainly our own and taken in Dordogne - as well as maps and diagrams.

    For those of you who would like to see a sample of the book please visit: https://issuu.com/crossbillguidesfoundation/docs/cg27_dordogne_issuu

    For further information and ordering please visit: https://crossbillguides.nl/dordogne

    This is my brother John's humorous take on it all: https://johnsimpson.org/2018/04/09/the-crossbill-guide-to-dordogne/

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  • orchids rising!

    Despite the changeable weather the orchids are rising! I visited Les Eyzies last week and one sunny bank had several Small Spider and Green-winged Orchids. A patch of rough ground by Saint Sauveur football ground has a nice little colony of Green-winged Orchids whilst my first Lady Orchid this spring was opening at Lac d'Escourroux on Saturday. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a large colony hundreds of Green-winged Orchids has appeared on the meadow opposite us in Bergerac. This is a species which can live away from limestone and we are mainly on sand here...however having said that there was a fresh Lady Orchid with its first flower amongst them!

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David

Welcome to my Dordogne Wildlife Diary

In it you will find regular wildlife sightings in the d├ępartement of Dordogne, notably of birds and butterflies in southern Dordogne where I live. In adddition there will be occasional references to neighbouring d├ępartements such as Lot et Garonne, Gironde, the Lot and places further afield. Check out the Faune-Aquitaine website for the latest wildlife sightings in Dordogne and Aquitaine.

Where possible I will add photographs to illustrate the entry. Many thanks to Margaret Mills (family photo) and Denis Cauchoix (birdwatcher photo).

I hope that you enjoy my diary and look forward to your comments.

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