Friday, 2 April 2010

Frogs and France - No connection...

I'm writing this while camped out on a fairly stormy night on the Isle d'Oleron on the Atlantic coast of France. A very quiet island that seems to be shut. We have moved from the western side of the island to the eastern side near the town of Chateau - hopefully it will have slightly more settled weather - so far this has not been the case.

Just before we left home, we were rewarded with a bumper crop of frogspawn in the garden pond. Very satisfying. The spawning started on the morning of the 18th March and came to an end on the 23rd March - with two huge clumps of spawn (morphed from about 15 individual clumps), plus 3 clumps which had submerged - no buoyancy. Sunday the 21st March, I was preparing the camper for the trip to France. The sun was shining so I settled in a quiet spot and watched the behaviour of the frogs. A few photos using a 300mm lens and most important, a tripod and remote release.

I brought the Moth trap with me, much to wifes disgust.. Nonetheless, our first night on the Island resulted in 4 moths captured. 2 were Barred Umbers - however, these were very golden in colour and had very slightly different markings than those illustrated in my moth identification book. They were absolutely beautiful.  Also had another moth which I couldn't identify (and which subesquently escaped), plus this one, below. So far I have been unable to identify it, if you recognise the moth, please let me know.

The reason for the lost moths.. During the night a huge storm landed and blew the lid of the trap off. This set the scene for the next 4 days with a mixture of sunshine and showers and a total absence of moths. In fact, I've just brought the trap in as the next set of showers has started again.. (00:00 local time).
The island is very quiet - in fact I don't think anything opens here until the summer. Main industry seems to be farming Mussels and Oysters in marine beds that seem to take up most of the eastern side of the island and are fed by marine tidal canals.. Lots of marine bird life, but not my specialist area... (must try harder).

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