There I was, sitting in a chair on the bridge with a glass of Munster* in hand, listening to Deep Purple's "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" and watching the sun go down.
No... one better, I was grabbing the warmth of the last rays whilst watching mayflies dancing in July, when.... suddenly... the view through the "macronoculars" was momentarily obliterated by a huge dark object.
You might think that the ant-eating cat had blocked my view.... but you'd've been wrong. A male Blackcap [Sylvia artricapilla] Fauvette à tête noire had snatched a tasty morsel to feed a young-un.
The next ten minutes were spent watching the Blackcap feeding a chick. Flit, feed, flit, feed.... on and on!
Also, there were a couple of Moorhen [Gallinula chloropus] Poule d'eau chicks chugging around below me... feeding themselves now... there was an adult around, up by the walnut. Probably a last feed before retiring to their "veranda" for the night.
The "city-boys"... Grand Pressigny's House Martins came through, feeding low.... a sure sign of bad weather. The sun was behind Grandmont now anyway and it was getting quite chilly.... so I decided to head indoors... the Munster was finished anyway!!
As I turned round I saw a 'short' rainbow over the Bois du Favier.
|Just a shower... just that cloud!|
The day had started badly.... the intention was to carry on with the maintenance of the meadow and potager after returning from the market. [ie... mowing!]
We never made it to the market... it started raining and nothing on the list was too important to hasten for [but we always feel sorry for the traders when it is miserable]... and it put a kybosh on the mowing too... grass, now wet, won't cut properly! Find something 'indoors' to do...
I started to write out a long intended, bird species list.... finished it too! There are about 120 species we could/should see here... we've seen about eighty. There are some.... Tree Sparrow and Coal Tit being a couple... that we should see but haven't. And yet others... Wood Sandpiper in Summer, Cattle Egret and Great Egret in mid-winter... that we shouldn't have.
Then, later, the weather turned for the better, so..... all intended up the spout.... I took a stroll round the meadow to see if there were any major patches of Creeping Thistle [Cirsium arvense]chardon des champs that I'd missed the previous day. I have no intention of trying to eradicate the Creeping Thistle.... it is too important a food plant for the wildlife around here.... I just want to control it enough to stop huge clouds of seed blowing over the neigbouring fields!!
The sun came out and brought with it a host of insects that had been sheltering in the nooks and crannies of tree bark, or under leaves.... dashed back in for the camera.... and managed to grab a few shots before it clouded over again.
One of the first in the frame was this Map butterfly [Araschinia levana] la Carte géographique which obliged by posing with its wings open.... I've got enough shots of the underwing to publish my own atlas.
|The 'Summer' wings|
|And the underwing!|
These are the summer brood.... spring [overwintered] specimens are so different on the upper wing as to appear a different species.
Susan of "Days on the Claise" blogged about them here and there seem to be an awful lot more around here than last year.
Also around were Red Admiral, Peacock, Marbled White, Silver-Washed Fritillary, Meadow Brown and a White Admiral.
However, around in even greater numbers were the Damselflies. Plenty of male Banded Demoiselles and some brilliant emerald green females...
|The strange 'nostril' is the wing of a rapidly vanishing fly!|
One damsel that caught my eye was this male Blue Featherleg [Platycnemis penepipes] l'Agrion à larges pattes which was posing nicely at the edge of one of the new "Paths"#, but there were also Bluets and Bluetails around, males definitely, females probably, but I need to go out deliberately to photograph as many as possible and then sit down in fron of this screen with the "bible" - Dijkstra & Lewington, to identify what we do have. I wonder how long before I acheive that?
|The 'feathering' on the hind leg is very clear in this picture.|
Also around were Gomphidae, possibly a Western Clubtail as Susan has seen them here, but when it got close enough to see more clearly, the tail seemed to be very markedly "clubbed" and it could have been a Pincertail [Also seen here by Susan and mentioned in the "Days on the Claise" entry.]
So, no mowing.... but a provisional Bird List under the belt... after about six years of deliberating!!
*The Alsace beer... not the cheese!
# One advantage of cutting through beds of chest-high nettle is that it falls cleanly, leaving a high, sharp-cut edge that all sorts of insects like to perch upon!!