Dordogne Butterfly Birdwatching

Wild-Dordogne-Logo_2.5cm_green
Wild-Dordogne-Logo_2.5cm_green
Wild-Dordogne-Logo_2.5cm_green

Wildlife Guiding and La Cabane du Pommier

la roque gageac

Dordogne Wildlife Diary

  • a snake skin and a blackbird - courtesy of the kids!

    A few days ago Joseph our nine year old son brought me a small snake skin (or so I first thought) which he'd found in the dry stones by the bread oven. With my glasses on I realised it was a dessicated snake (including skin!). It looked like it had had its head nipped off by a predator - maybe a Jay - and there was still a bit of colour and marking to suggest it was probably a young Grass Snake. You could see the backbone clearly though breaks in the skin and it smelt rotten. It had probably died a few weeks back.

    Hannah our two and a half year old is showing more interest in nature than Joseph did at her age. Yesterday evening there was a Blackbird singing strongly from the top of a big oak by the meadow. I picked here up to show her - opening the window to hear the song. When I put here down she went straight to where I store my telescope in the corner of the lounge imploring me to set it up to show her the bird properly! She's rather fond of my mini binoculars too which are great for little hands though she prefers (like all kids) to look through them backwards!

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • Bean Goose

    Big surprise at the reservoir near Issigeac yesterday - a Bean Goose! We had just finished lunch in the village and as usual drove to the reservoir for a stroll to look at the orchids and butterflies - though the weather was changeable. As we scanned the lake we were amazed to see a goose by the dam on the far side. I initially I thought of Pink-footed Goose until I saw the give-away orange legs which confirmed Bean Goose. This was the third record for Dordogne and the first in 18 years!

    Just afterwards as we left the site a beautiful male Hen Harrier flew low along the dam wall giving us great views. A nice way to end the day.

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • Black Kites

    Plenty of Black Kites in the valley now and they are busy nesting - as by July they will start drifting away southwards again. This one was on a tree by the River Dordogne at Trémolat on a foggy morning a few weeks back when birds were reluctant to fly until these first rays of sun. The 14x zoom on my little Nikon compact camera was only just enough to get a reasonable snap - and you can certainly see that it is not black in colour. It has various shades of brown from tawny on the head to nearly black on the flight feathers. In sunshine the upperside of the wing near the body appears golden - maybe it should be the 'Golden-shouldered Kite' ?

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • Nest building

    The tits like to come to our blue mat by the front door to collect nesting material: Great, Blue and Marsh (see Blue and Marsh Tits below). This has been going on for a few weeks now and many other resident birds are now incubating eggs like the Nuthatches in the nest box by the parking area. A neighbour told me he has just seen his first Blackbird fledgling. Today I startled a pair of Hoopoe on the gite roof and soon afterwards a Golden Oriole called from the wood at the bottom of the meadow - so they will be nesting soon.

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • New Book - Crossbill Guides: Dordogne, France

    I am currently writing a wildlife guide to Dordogne with local French naturalist Frank Jouandoudet. It has become a bit of an opus - the idea for the project was born nearly five years ago! It will be around 225 pages with lots of photos and fact boxes set amongst the main chapters dealing with: landscape, species, routes (to see the wildlife) and advice to visitors. It is due out in spring 2018.

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • cowslips and cuckoo flowers at the cross

    As you rise up the hill onto the Cabant ridge here, there is a metal religious cross on a rather smart stone plinth - the sort of thing you see everywhere in rural France. There is a story that during the last war Maurice Chavalier restored it. His friends - Parisian dancers - lived down the lane in the manor house and it was a regular place for parties amongst theatricals and their friends. Maybe he did it as a favour? Not quite so exotic today - a Franco-Chienese couple own the manor (they live in Peking) and visit with the children once a year during the summer holidays. At least the old buildings are being maintained!

    In spring the cowslips and cuckoo flowers brighten up the old cross - I bet it could tell some stories...

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • Red Squirrel at Issigeac

    On a recent 'Travelling Naturalist' wildlife holiday two of the clients Pete Marshall and Gen Carpenter found this Red Squirrel sun-bathing in a tree as we returned to the van after lunch in Issigeac. At first the animal was sprawled out and flattened head pointing downwards on a 45° branch to take full advantage of the sun's rays but by the time I got this photo it had moved to a more normal position!

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • White Storks at Libourne

    Where the River Isle joins the River Dordogne at Libourne there are interesting wet meadows and woods between the meanders of the river - the 'palus' in local patois.

    At this time of year the Snake's-head Fritillary flowers are opening and White Storks are constructing their nests. A beautiful time of year. Two protected plants grow beside this tidal freshwater stretch of the Dordogne river - Angelica heterocarpa (a large umbellifer endemic to France) and Scripus triqueter (a club-rush with a three sided stem).

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • Spring at Cabant

    It's Cowslip time at Cabant with this species joining Primroses adorning the roadside banks and gardens locally. It means that the orchids will soon start to flower: firstly Early Spider and Green-winged.

    Other early spring flowers include Narrow-leaved Lungwort and the wild cherries.

    Butterflies are on the wing with not just the odd Red Admiral but the first Wall and Specked Wood adding to other larger more colourful nymphalids. They are often attracted to the mass of flowers on the cherry trees and bushes. In the forest this afternoon I disturbed two Brown Hares boxing - who then ran off at high speed in their courtship excitement. I always find it strange that hares live here in the forest - as places where I knew them in UK were always open country.

    Read more...

    0 comments

  • Winter hangs on in the Pyrenees: 18 - 25 February 2017

    A view from the Col de Portillon not far from Luchon and on the Spanish border - with not a lot of snow evident. A Black Woodpecker was singing and drumming in the distant woodland and a pair of Golden Eagles passed overhead - a larger young female (with big white patches on the wing underside) together with a smaller darker mature male.

    We had one very cold frosty night which produced this interesting frost pattern on our bedroom velux window at the resort hotel.

    Read more...

    0 comments

Photo crop (passport)

Web feed

David

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.

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.


Get Flash Player