Wildlife on the Gironde estuary - Our first garden Snipe

  • In reply to Seaman:

    Hi TJ & Pete, I don't think we realised just how much mess the builders would make, but we love the house & the situation, so it'll all be worth it in the end. I expect in a few months time the hassle will all be forgotton!

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Noisette:

    Gosh, I can't believe it's over 2 months since I've posted & there has been a lot happened in that time so i'll start with a later view of the muddy garden, as you can see we now have grass & a veggie plot & it all looks a lot better.

    Since this photo we've got allsorts planted & it really does look good. On the bird side we had a lot of Wheatears coming through towards the end of march,

    & then in ealy April we saw 3 Ring ouzels in the trees, unfortunately they saw us & flew off to the other side of the field, hence a grotty photo,

    Out walking one afternoon & this Mole cricket passed across in front of us,

    Towards the end of April & we passed a field of cows with their friends around (Cattle Egrets)

    they looked so good together that I took far too many photos,

    & the Wheatears were still going through, a female,

    & a male

    Rons birthday on the 21st April & we stopped off for bird watching on our way to lunch & had a lovely Short-toed eagle flying low at first & gradually chased away by a crow,

    & a few things seen on our walks on the marshes, a little Provencal Short-tailed blue, first of the summer,

    a curious bundle of spiders that probably made a little bird very happy,

    an odd looking fly, a Tipule, Tipula lunata (I think)

    & finally my butterfly of my dreams turned up yesterday, we were doing an organised walk for the LPO (French RSPB) & Ron had a bad back so I was on my own with scope, bins, books & water to carry for about 5km, so no camera. It was my first sighting of a Large Copper & there were 2 males & 2 females in another spot. I was so thrilled to see them & they are SOOOOOOO beautiful. Anyway we went back today & managed to find 2 males so here's the photo. Sorry no underside but you can't have everything!

    I've a few more photos but have to go & start dinner, thanks for looking! 

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Noisette:

    Here are a few more photos of the Large Copper, it really was unbelievably beautiful

    I'll go & do a bit more cooking now!

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Noisette:

    Great update, Hazel. You've made good progress with the garden. I hope you have time to sit and enjoy it this summer.

    That Large Copper is an absolute stunner, no wonder you were so thrilled. I've never seen one, only a Small Copper.

    How did your mothing trip go? Supper smells good - I'm on my way round - I'll bring the wine. LOL



    My Flickr Photostream 

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    The mothing trip went really well TJ. We met up at 8h30 & went off to the site in the woods & got set up for 10pm start. We were fortunate to have a brilliant specialiste with us so my input in I.D's was small but I learnt a huge amount. The 3 lads were a good laugh & it all finished at 2am. By the time we got finished & I'd driven to the local carpark it was 2h45. I went out like a light in the camper & then the rubbish lorry came around at 6am. Not wanting to get picked up for illegal camping I drove home (about 1h45) & got there just in time for breakfast!! We had quite a few rare ones & all agreed same time, same place next month! It's so motivating to go out with other enthusiastes, I was on a "high" all day!

    Despite the wind the dinner (BBQ) went well & the lamb steak (big one cut in two) with local new potatoes was delish!

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Noisette:

    There are still a few photos from May to do, so I'll pop those in now, the red-backed Shrikes are everywhere now & from the camper you get quite good views,

    For comparison Ron took this with his FZ 1000, I used my Nikon with Sigma 100/400 zoom, frankly not much difference,

    & Ron spotted this Wryneck sitting on a branch, unfortunately slightly hidden,

    & it wouldn't move either, apart from it's head which swivels all ways (hence it's name)

    again this is Rons photo for comparison, he got a better angle than me too as he was up front!

    The FZ 1000 is equally good when compared to my Nikon with the macro lens 105mm, this is his Large Copper,

    This is his bordered straw moth,

    & this is my effort,

    I think that if you don't want to carry a great weight around the FZ1000 is a good alternative to an SLR. It seems to take a bit longer to take the photo but otherwise it's the best bridge camera we've had. He managed a decent distant Hoopoe that I didn't even think about as I had the macro lens on,

    We've had some unusual visitors to the garden, a Partridge, taken through the window by me,

    & a Pheasant

    & finally a few insects from the last few days, a Spotted fritillary, which wouldn't stop long,

    a Marbled white, they are all over at the moment,

    a rather worn Sooty Copper,

    Clouded Yellow,

    a Pearly Heath,

    a different form of Adonis blue,

    & finally one of my favourite insects which I think was recently hatched, an Ascalphe, high up on a bank so not great photos, I could have done with Ron's camera!

    It's nice to see the sun again now so maybe a few more piccies coming soon! Thanks for looking.

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Noisette:

    WOW at the Large Copper, it's glorious. Love all the other insects too, especially the ones we don't get to see here incl the ascalphe (known as owlflies in English, I think?)

    My blog: http://mazzaswildside.blogspot.co.uk/

    My Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124028194@N04/

  • In reply to aiki:

    Thanks Aiki, I wasn't sure about the English for Ascalphes, sometimes it's the same word for an insect & sometimes it isn't, should have looked it up!!

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Noisette:

    Hi, it's ages since I posted on here & my cousin Joe (who is a lurker) put in a complaint. So here goes!

    One of the reasons that I haven't posted is lack of time. It's not just the moths though. On my organised walk for the LPO at the end of May, not only did we find Large Coppers but also a new Purple heron colony. It wasn't really a new one, but an old one which decided to move from it's nice peaceful secluded spot to a clump of trees beside a footpath & smalll canal popular with fisherman. As we walked past almost all the adults that had been sitting on eggs flew off & didn't come back until we were well gone. I was quite shocked & tried to hurry everyone along, a bit difficult when they are rare & everyone wanted to take photos of the adult that stayed on the nest (situated about 10m from the path). I decided that if the colony of around 10 couples was going to survive they would have to have a bit of help. So I visited the horse riding stables & asked them not to go down there until the end of July. Then I met the man who ran the 4x4 rallys & persuaded him not to go there. Then I met the Mayor & the president of the group of landowners who use the track & asked if I could put up signs to close the footpath. This was agreed although the general opinion was that the signs would soon be pulled up! So, I got some signs made up & bashed poles in the ground & put a red & white ribbon across in case nobody saw the sign. So these are the first days,

    & the other end of the track

    I then popped down every day to make sure it was all in place, which it was for a week & then one of the signs disappeared. I also had a phone call from an irate farmer, but once I'd explained the situation he was ok. So I printed another little sign & asked people not to go down there, & if they were farmers needing access, could they put the ribbon back behind them & please don't take my sign away. And I put my name on it. Anyway this obviously went down a little better with the locals as it stayed to end of July. So this is the second attempt (12th June)

    The ONCFS who police the countryside got involved & we all went out on patrol one afternoon & met a local farmer who probably spoke to other ones & this also helped. I went down 3 or 4 times a week & checked the ribbon which was often removed, but the signs stayed. The hérons all produced & I did a count in early July of 20 younsters, some of which were almost flying, a fabulous return for my efforts. We then went back a bit later when all risk of disturbance was past to take a few photos. An adult in the fields,

    & he took off soon after

    the youngsters in the trees, they are well hidden but the poo trail marks the nest!

    Another one in the trees,

    & then instinct kicks in & it almost disappears

    & another one that was a bit closer ( I really should have got photos before they were mobile but felt that having asked people to stay away that included me too!!)

    There is also a Night heron colony nearby & I got a shot as they flew out of the trees & river bank,

    Fortunately they didn't need protecting!! 


    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Noisette:

    What a story and what a thread, congratulations on your keeping the purple herons safe and able to breed successfully Hazel, loved to read about the animals and butterflies you photograph, the cows and the white egrets are fabulous as are the wheatears, thanks for posting.

    Lot to learn