la roque gageac

Dordogne Wildlife Diary

  • Tracks and signs

    When you walk through the countryside in Dordogne you will see plenty of Roe Deer slots, sometimes Badger, Fox, Wild Boar and marten prints as well as their scats. However on a recent walk with John Breeds ex-warden of Braunton Burrows NNR we found a few other items of interest. John noticed a cicada exuvia (pupal case) on the track - as I was looking for butterflies of course! They have an interesting lifecycle spending several years underground as larvae. The cicada song is very much the sound of high summer here and most notably in the Mediterranean and they require a summer temperature of 25°C or so before they start singing. First song is heard around early June in these parts.

    A little further on we came across several ant-lion nests like mini craters in the dry sandy soil. Normally the larva will be waiting below for ants or other small insects to fall into their trap providing them with a regular food supply. This one had a solitary bee visitor which we saw it poking it's head out of the hole several times! Not quite sure what it was up to. The adults are rather like giant damselflies (but with short antennae) and will also hold their wings out like a dragonfly. They sometimes fly into houses on a summer evening attracted by the lights. In Dordogne there are several species including one where the larva does not construct pit traps but lives in the soil and leaf litter like the cicada (and ascalaphid or owlfly) larva.


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Welcome to my Dordogne Wildlife Diary

In it you will find regular wildlife sightings in the département of Dordogne, notably of birds and butterflies in southern Dordogne where I live. In adddition there will be occasional references to neighbouring départements 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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