Thursday 31 December 2009

December 2005 - Observations in Nature Diary

26th - Black Redstarts still around.

27th - Pair of Green Sandpipers feeding along the bief. Loads of Buntings / LBJs.
Lovely view of a 'pair' of Kingfishers
[one stayed around for quite a while by Richard's sluice gate  -  NO I didn't have my camera to hand!!]

28th - Went for a walk towards Petit Pressigny then up to Chevarnay and round and back.
over the wood as we walked up, Hen Harrier quartering in fields on the other side of the valley.

Watching the sandpipers

14th & 15th May 2005 - Observations in Nature Diary

Possible Corncrake calling from over the road, called three times.
Oriole singing in poplar plantation. Hen Harrier [male] over woods.

Did a walk from the LPO book 'Voir les Oiseaux en Touraine' [Walk 13 - Etableau, Grand Pressigny] -  
Orchids, Scarce and normal Swallowtails, further on [just beyond the set-aside that lies behind the wood behind Gatault] Stone Curlews.
Came down past la Duranderie onto the Etableau to Preuilly road [D42].
Walked back through Etableau past a marvelous potager to our car.
Good walk, well marked in the book and not tiring despite the heat.
Then went up above La Jarrie... orchids all way up the hill...  
Autumn crocus seed pods visible in the ditches towards la Celle Geunand.


19th February to 6th March 2005 Observations from Nature Diary and Notebooks

19th Feb - 6th March 2005 [Dead Season, ha-ha]
Brenne [Visit on a bright and sunny day] -
Loads of Great White Egrets and G-C Grebes. Also cormorants, lapwings, gulls.
Small flocks [20'ish] of Pochard and Wigeon at Foucault.
Very little else except a Red Kite and Little Egrets
La Forge - Accumulated observations...
[Weather V.cold - sunny with occasional snowy days - water froze in minus 12 degrees Celsius temperature.]
Barn Owl seen on road to village numerous times after dark.
Black Redstart around grinding his little steel balls.
Blackbirds, Robins, large flocks of Fieldfares.
Kestrels, Buzzards and a raptor with very white blaze at base of tail flew across field and meadow and up to the trees below la Jarrie. Female Hen Harrier or Monty? definately not a buzzard.
Saw a Water Vole by our bridge....
also three Coypu [ragondins] by baby poplars toward Bezuard and on the bank between Richard's etang and the bief. >>>
Found a fresh Barn or Tawny Owl pellet on the concrete lid of water meter mains tap.

From the Nature Diary:
Dry, cold, sunny. Bodie the buzzard calling - else very little moving.

Sunny - snowed in evening - Loads of birds calling but little to see.
Ragondin [Coypu]
Snow showers and sunshine breaks - saw coypu in young poplar grove opposite the wier.
Heard tawny, barn and little owls calling after dark [around 8pm]

Found deadish catfish in the bief [there was a little bit of muscular twitching]

22nd to 26th October 2004 Observations from Notebooks

22nd La Forge
Juvenile Peregrine flew over house towards woods.

24th Brenne
La Gabriere almost drained... 20 plus Great White Egret, 60 plus Little Egret as well as Grey Heron, Shag, Black-headed Gull, Grebes Great-Crested and Black-neck.... all fishing like mad!!

26th La Forge
Little Owl in silhouette on the barn roof... calling to partner near bridge... challenged by the Barn Owl.

Also discovered Deptford Pink growing in the drive!

Deptford Pink

Monday 28 December 2009

15th to 23rd May 2004 Observations from Nature Diary and Notebooks

15th to 20th [and the 23rd] May 2004
Observations at La Forge and an Orchid Walk organised by the Patrimoine.
[The middle bit was spent at the meeting of 2CV friends at Bessais le Fromental in the Berry 
but we returned early as the people in the caravan next door had a generator running all night!! 
And it was on our tent's side of their caravan... made it worse. Was tempted to use some sugar in the tank... but lethargy prevailed.]

At La Forge.... 
Stone Curlews nesting in field oppposite house [Richard had planted tournesol]
We had our meadow cut and the Montague's Harrier came in to hunt as the hay was being turned.

On the 20th we went on an Orchid Walk...
very well organised [and the first Natural History event we'd come across for 'les adultes']
Went in our own transport in a convoy, first to the top of the hill outside GP on the Barrou road.
At the junction of the road leading down to the 'independant' commune of [name] we saw six species including Purple Limodore and Man Orchid.

Purple Limodore || Man Orchid

Our guide and lecturer pointed out the 'odd' orchids [crosses between species]... very interseting and informative.
Then via someone's 'private' road down to the road from Etableau to Chaumassay and the Lady and Bee orchids along there at the side of the railway.
At Chaumassay we looked at the huge colony of Lizard orchid above the Source and then followed the railway towards Les Haute Thurinieres.
The whole track and road side was covered in different species in quantity...
20 metres of embankment covered in Monkey Orchid. Also Man, Lady, Bee, Spider in quantity.
Leaving our transports at the roadside we walked through some private woods to see Green-winged, Narrow-leaved and Pyramid [as well as wild Aqueligia]
Returning to the transport we carried on along the railway line to the Boussay road and turned back toward Chaumassay.

Just passed the other [more well known?] La Forge we drove up a track to look at the chalky Juniper wasteland in search of Fly orchid [found some, but they were immature] and the descended the hillside above La Forge, back towards the road... great examples of Pyramid and some Burnt Orchid.

Fly Orchid || Burnt Orchid

Most species seen were a first for us. We've been back along that route many a time... it still thrills!

9 -12 April 2004 - Observations in Nature Diary

9th - Good Friday
Fritillaria meleagris at far end of point by the bief [millstream] near the wier.
Three plants.Also on opposite bank of Aigronne about 100 mtrs further on [2 plants visible].
Also 2 plants visible alongside the fence between Richard's etang and our field.
Near the fritillaries on the opposite bank of the Aigronne was a large 'colony' of Purple Toothwort [Lathraea squamaria],
only their purple flowers showing above the soil... wierd plant!

At entry to village, on bank by first houses.... Star of Bethlehem [Dame d'onze heures]
Also disturbed Green Sandpiper who were feeding on gravel bank at side of bief near the house.

Purple Toothwort  ||  Snakeshead Fritillary 
|| Bloody-nose Beetle

12th - Easter Monday
Lesser-Spotted Woodpeckers in the walnut tree by the verger and in the poplars on far side.
Red squirrel carrying baby, running towards us on the back road [le Petit Pressigny / Preuilly]
One of those moments... we stopped, squirrel stopped, stared, thought bubble appeared
"OOO Eck! O oo I oo ow?! is a oo ee ee... own ee em ery o'en!" before turning tail
and belting back down the road and up the bank!
[Translation of thought bubble - ' OOO heck! What do I do now?! It's a two CV... don't see them very often!"]

Muskrat - lives opposite side of bief, just behind the house. Comes out evenings to feed.
The crunching of vegetation echoes back off the barn wall.... sounds strange.
Caught Barn Owl in the beam of the 2,000,000 candle-power torch,
flying across fields opposite the house - it didn't seem perturbed by the light.

14th - Photographed a Bloody-nose Beetle. This large flightless beetle exudes 'blood' from its mouth if disturbed.

Seen round La Forge
Birds seen:

  • Barn Owl
  • Buzzard

  • Turtle-Dove [heard in trees by river]
  • House sparrows
  • Black Redstart
  • Blue Tit
  • Great Tit
  • White Wagtails
  • Moorhens
  • Robin
  • Crows
  • Rooks
  • Greenfinch
  • Song Thrush
  • Chaffinch
  • Swallows
  • House Martins
  • Male Blackcap
  • Goldfinches
  • Stonechat
  • Blackbird
  • Lesser-spotted Woodpecker

  • Green Sandpiper [feeding on gravel bank at side of bief]
  • Grey Heron

  • Muskrat

Other Local sightings- vers Petit Pressigny
  • Indeterminate large falcon
  • Red squirrel carrying baby in mouth. [Along back road to Preuilly, just outside P.P.]
    When it saw us it turned round and ran back down the road, up a bank and into the hedge.

Visit to the Brenne:
At La Gabriere
  • Black-necked Grebes
  • Great White Egret
  • Tufted Duck
  • Pochard
  • Gadwall
  • Shoveller
  • Mallard
  • Coot 

At le Foucault:
  • Hen Harrier [male]
    Black Kite
  • Magpie
  • Snipe

  • Grey Herons - roost at Plume Cane [house on corner of etang - not the farm!]
  • Turtle Doves
  • Collared Doves
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Redstart [le Bouchaut]

  • Marsh Harrier [female - Meziers-en-Brenne]
  • Kestrel
  • Cormorants
  • G-C-Grebes [everywhere]

  • Chocolate-headed Land Gulls [Black-headed gulls]
  • Herring Gull
  • Jay
  • Green Woodpecker [Azay-le-Feron]

New Observations added to 16 April 2003

New material added to 16 April 2003
[Posted 15/11/2009]

Sunday 27 December 2009

21 -29 March 2004 - Observations from the Nature Diary

Trip to the Brenne... 
All seen at La Cherine
Great White Egret
Hen Harrier [male]
Honey Buzzard
Pintails, Teal, Shovellers
except a Grey Wagtail... seen on returning to La Forge
Also Barn owl by road bridge near Moulin du Favier as we returned from a visit to GP for a meal.

Muskrat swam past at lunchtime
Saw wren, robin, white wagtails
Stonechat and a warbler [buff & pale-buff]
Put car away in the laiterie and disturbed a Black Redstart

Small warbler by river [very visible cream eye-stripe - pale green and buff-green - probably a willow-chiff]

Swallows appeared at around 5.50pm [along with the sun]
Pair of Buzzards wheeling over the woods in front of the house.

Hen Harrier [male] along below Grandmont towards Petit Pressigny.
Hobby dropped from over the grange [barn] into the field by the willows and then flew off. It was trying to catch Swallows but failed miserably.

26th Woodcock flew over late afternoon
27th And again but I had bino's with me this time... for Woodcock, read Snipe!!

Visit to Brenne again...
Saw Black kite, loads of Black-necked Grebes [at La Gabriere], Purple Heron plus assorted other species and a roost of Cormorants.
Large raptor took off from our meadow on returning - probably a buzzard [ it was behind the barn and away before there was a chance of identifying it. Swallows present AM as we left for the Brenne and heard a buzzard calling from the wood out front.

Chiffchaff calling and hopping around us as we planted trees by Richard's etang. Female harrier [? species... too fast] came low across meadow in front of us, thro' trees and up across fields towards La Jarrie.

As a list of sightings:
Seen round La Forge
Birds seen:

  • Barn Owl near Moulin du Favier [by road bridge]
  • Buzzards
  • Hen Harrier [male]
  • Hobby
  • Harrier [female] - came low across field and up thro' trees to La Jarrie.


  • Grey Wagtail [by our bridge]
  • White Wagtails
  • Swallows [with Hobby in pursuit on one occasion]
  • Robin
  • Wren
  • Black Redstart
  • Stonechat
  • Willow-Chiff
  • Chiffchaff [called whilst being watched]

  • Snipe

  • Muskrats

Visit to the Brenne:
  • Hen Harrier [male]
  • Honey Buzzard
  • Black Kite
  • Purple Heron
  • Great White Egret
  • Pintail
  • Teal
  • Shovellers
  • Black-necked Grebes [loads - La Gabriere]
  • Roost of Cormorants