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Dordogne Wildlife Diary

  • Ebro Delta news !

    Our summer holidays often include a few weeks down in Spain by the Ebro Delta where Audrey's parents have a holiday house. There is always interesting wildlife about. I managed a few trips out and amassed 127 bird species at three sites: Lerida Plains, Sierra Cardo mountains and the Ebro Delta coastal belt. Best birds for me were Marsh Sandpiper and Lesser Grey Shrike. I must say that a day out with Steve West of "Birding in Spain", the English bird guide at Lerida, had something to do with my total species number and most of the rarer birds! The Ebro is always productive bird-wise with so much varied wetland habitat, even the rice fields have their herons, egrets, stilts and terns! We visited an excellent new visitor centre "Mon Natura Delta de l'Ebre" near the Tancada saltmarshes and lagoons on the south side of the river. There was a Night Heron on the wire to greet us. With European "Life" money they has doen great things restoring habitats and the old buildings.

    Whilst walking around the site and in particular looking for the rare endemic Iberian Tooth Carp (the subject of a conservation scheme here) in the saline pools, we saw many large bluish crabs which I did not recognise. After a bit of resereach on the web we found out that they were the Atlantic Blue Crab from the western shores of the Atlantic. An invasive species first noted in the early 20th century and now very common in many parts of the Mediterranean. Great for eating but perhaps not so good for the ecosystem. It has been the subject of a recent major study.

    Just before leaving for home I found this butterfly fluttering around the veranda windows. At first glance I thought it was a Common Gatekeeper as there were no strong markings. However the rather greyish-brown mottled hindwing underside with no spots show it to be a Southern Gatekeeper. This is a species restricted to the Mediterranean. The upperwings are very like a Common Gatekeeper.


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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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