Monday, 26 April 2010

France Part 2

Ended up spending 6 days on the Isle d'Oleron - the weather improved - the wind dropped and the temp rose so that on the last day we went down to the beach and round the rock pools.

Apart from the amusing session watching a coach driver trying to navigate a 55 seater coach around a single lane roundabout (with cars parked all the way round the outside) and which was only 3m in diameter, it was a pretty uneventful - very pleasant, but uneventful afternoon.

There was a crowd of schoolkids with their teachers (escapees from the coach) on the beach, it was quite something to see the real interest and the dedication of the teachers explaining what they had found and how it all fitted together. I can't remember ever seeing this sort of interest from UK classes, mind you, I left school nearly 40 years ago.

Not being a birdwatcher, I couldn't fail to notice hundreds of these watching me - by far the most common bird that I saw on the island.. I think they are Turnstones coming to the end of their overwintering.




















In the rock pools, I spied the usual beasts, but what really caught my eye was this...















Not sure what it is, but the colours were outstanding.  Also manged to find a couple of hermit crabs, both of which made brief appearances.. This was the better more photogenic of the two..















I am really quite pleased with that image..

Back at the campsite on the last day, the weather warmed up and I tried to count up and identify the butterflies that were around.

The common ones were Small Whites and Brimstone butterflies. There were also a few browns around. I think that this is a 'Wall' butterfly, but the wing markings don't quite match my reference book.



















The location is correct (coastal) though.

The other pretty/unusual (to me) was this blue, which I think is a Holly Blue.













Finally, we spent our last night on the Normandy coast, just north of Bayeaux, the camp site was superb, built around a little wildlife park with 3 small freshwater lakes. The only interesting (to me) bird that was watching me was this Pintail. The day we arrived, there was a pair, but the female disappeared the next day.














During out 2 weeks in West Coast France I saw many things watching me, possibly the most interesting were:
  • Little Egrets
  • Various unidentified raptors
  • Red Kites - that was a suprise - on the mainland side of the Isle d'Oleron
  • Curlew (trying to blend in with the Turnstones and failing miserably).
  • Lots of Chaffinches and House Sparrows
  • The usual 'English' moths at Normandy - this Hebrew Character was especially bright.














Thats about it for our overseas trips until August when we are back in France and Italy.

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