|NATURAL HISTORY TRAVEL
VISIT TO LA BRENNE, FRANCE
May 11th – 18th 2006
1.Wednesday May 10th (The Advance Party’)
1.1 Journey from Le Havre to Buzançais
Species seen from the autoroute – 4 Kestrel, 4 Buzzard, Hobby, Dark Kite, Hen Harrier.
1.2 Lunch stop near Bonneau
Birds:- 2 Cuckoo, Great Tit, Song Thrush, Tree Pipit, Coot, Turtle Dove, House Martins, Swallows, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Short-toed Treecreeper, Greenfinch.
Insects:- Wood White, Banded Demoiselles, Large Red Damsel, Oil Beetle Meloe proscarabaeus.
Plants:- Yellowwort Blackstonia perfoliata, Stinking Hellebore Helleborus foetidus in bud
Bath Asparagus Ornithogallum pyrenaicum, Sanicle Saniculum europaea.
Birds:- Common Redstart, Grey Wagtail, Swallow, House Martin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Serin, Collared Dove.
2. Thursday May 11th
2.1 To Tours to collect the new arrivals
Two Small Heath butterflies in airport carpark.
2.2 Lunchstop beside monastic farm near Manthelan
Birds:- Kestrel, Nightingale, House Sparrow, Blackbird.
Insects:- Large Wall Brown, Large White, Orange Tip
Plants:- Field Eryngo Eryngium campestre, Limestone Bedstraw Galium sterneri,
Common Vetch Vicia sativa.
2.3 Journey from Manthelan to La Brenne
Hen Harrier and Monkey Orchids (nr Preuilly)
2.4 La Chérine Reserve Centre carpark
Insects:- Small Blue, Glanvilles Fritillary, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Sooty Copper
Processionary caterpillars processing, Lackey moth larvae in a heap
Whitetailed Skimmer dragonfly Orthetrum albistylum.
Mammals:- Pigmy Shrew
Plants:- Birdsfoot Ornithopus perpusillus.
3. Friday May 12th
3.1 Étang de Bernadoux
Birds:- Shoveler, Night Heron, Fantailed Warbler (aka Zitting Cisticola!),
Buzzard, Lapwing, Stonechat, Blacknecked grebes, Great Crested Grebe,
6 yes six! Purple herons’ nests in the sallow bushes,
Cormorant, Little Grebe, Dunnock, Nightingale.
Insects:- Camberwell Beauty, Red Admiral, Speckled Yellow Moth, blackthorn defoliated by several spp of moths, interesting Ichneumon wasp with orange segments,
Mullein moth larvae.
Plants:- Pale Dog Violet Viola lactea, Greenwinged orchid Orchis morio,
Laxflowered Orchid Orchis laxiflora.
3.2 stop on way to lunch site
Cattle Egrets with the Limousin cattle, Linnet, Tree pipit, several Nightingales.
Asphodels Asphodelus albus.
3.3 Picnic stop at Migné by the church
Insects:- swarm of Honey Bees,
Glanvilles Fritillary larva parasitised by wasps, with the pupae showing
Bee Eucera longicornis, Burnet Companion Moth, Sooty Copper,
Plants:- Wall Speedwell Veronica arvensis, Burnt Tip Orchid Orchis ustulata.
South of Forêt de Lancosme – Nigel’s Whiskered Tern photo opportunity
Whiskered Terns, Yellowhammer, Longtailed tit.
Etang de Pisseloup nearby: full of White Water lily Nymphaea alba.
Étang near les Périnières
Grey heron, Purple Heron.
Étang de Montmelier
Birds:- Reed Bunting, Black Tern, Blackwinged Stilt, Little Grebe,
Turtle Dove, Tree Pipit, Garden Warbler, Reed Warbler
Plants:- this lake is full of emergent plants and has a small colony of Black Terns.
The ditch opposite has a fine display of Water Violet, Hottonia palustris.
4. Saturday May 13th
Circular early walk from Montmelier past Étang de Miclos and Nozières
Birds:- Whinchat, Savi’s Warbler, Chiffchaff,
Corn , Cirl and Reed Buntings, Tree Pipit, Whitethroat, Blackcap,
Melodious and Garden Warblers, Turtle Doves
Wood and Bonelli’s Warblers singing close to each other – very interesting comparison of songs.
Aslo:- Wild Boar diggings and Common Gromwell Lithospermum officinale.
4.2 Le Blanc market House Martins, Gateau de Grenouilles.
4.3 Journey from Le Blanc through Mérigny to Rive
Birds:- Redshank on muddy scrape nr Douadic
Plants:- Nice field of weeds Bugloss Anchusa arvensis, Storksbill Erodium cicutarium,
Poppy Papaver rhoeas, another prickly poppy,
Bladder Campion Silene vulgaris, Field Pansy Viola arvensis,
Greater Celandine Chelidonium majus,
Blue Gromwell Lithospermum purpurocaeruleum,
Tassel Hyacinth Muscari comosa, Ragged Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi
Lunchstop beside river Anglin at Rive
Plants:- excellent orchid bank Monkey Orchid Orchis simia, Lady Orchid O. purpurea,
Greater Butterfly Orchid Platanthera chlorantha,
Narrow leaved Helleborine Cephalanthera longifolia,
Blue Gromwell, Greater Stitchwort Stellaria holostea,
Rockrose Helianthemum nummularium, Field Scabious Knautia arvensis,
White Bryony Bryonia dioica, Hop Humulus lupulus,
Hautbois Strawberry Fragaria moschata, White Deadnettle Lamium album,
Carthusian Pink Dianthus carthusianorum, Milkwort Polygala vulgaris,
Smallflowered Cranesbill Geranium pusillum, Spindle Euonymus europeaus,
Bladder Campion, White Campion Silene dioica, Dropwort Filipendula vulgaris.
Birds:- Black Woodpecker and Bee-Eaters heard calling,
Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Golden Oriole.
Etc:- a Mustelid poo on the washed up tree trunk, Mayflies Ephemera sp.,
Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens, Swan Mussel shells.
Wood White, Speckled Yellow Moth, Brimstone, Orange Tips, Green-veined White.
Stop on verge of Fourniaux to Lurais road
Butterflies/Moths:- Weaver’s (Violet) Fritillary laying on violets, Broadbordered Bee Hawkmoth,
Small Blue, Wall Brown, Green Hairstreak, Brimstone, Wood White,
Scarce Swallowtail, Dingy Skipper, Silver Y moth, Red Admiral.
Other Invertebrates:- Wood Ants, Beeflies Bombylius major and minor,
small brightgreen chafer, red and black froghopper, very fine Shield Bug,
Bee Eucera longicornis, Field Crickets.
Birds:- Grey Partridge, Melodious Warbler, Blackcap
Plants:- masses of lovely Blue Gromwell, Bastard Balm abundant Mellitis melissophyllum,
Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis, Horseshoe Vetch Hippocrepis comosa,
Swallowwort Vincetoxicum hirudinacea,
Narrowleaved Lungwort Pulmonaria angustifolia,
Herb Bennet Geum urbanum, Crosswort Cruciata laevipes
Neons-sur-Creuse Peggy’s cow stop
Birds:- Montagu’s Harrier non-adult male, Corn Bunting, Stonechat,
2 pale phase Honey Buzzards
Plants:- Foxglove Tree Paulonia nearby.
Lemon Balm, Rampion Bellflower Campanula rapunculus
Hedge Cranesbill Geranium pyrenaicum,
Small-flowered Cranesbill G.pusillum.
Neons-sur-Creuse Bee-Eater site
Birds:- Bee-Eaters! Wow! About 30 hawking, perching, calling
Dipper, Grey Wagtail.
Plants:- Purple Toothwort Lathraea squamaria, Hogweed,
Butterbur Petasites hybridus,
Field Bindweed Convolvulus arvensis.
Etc:- Banded Demoiselles Calopteryx splendens
Green-veined White butterflies.
La Carroirie Étang du Sablon, on way back to Mézières
Idyllic lakeside spot on a very minor road.
Birds:- Cattle egrets, 2 Curlew, Whiskered Terns,
Great Crested Grebe with young on parent’s back, also doing diving lessons
Mute Swans with cygnets
Melodious Warbler, Dark Kite.
Insects:- Blacktailed Skimmers laying
Mézières - the evening of the fete
Giant Peacock Moth on the wall of a house near the square
A small Bat – unidentified.
5. Sunday May 14th
Stop on verge of D15 towards Rosnay
Grasshopper Warbler reeling
Laxflowered Orchid, Carthusian Pink, Pale Flax Linum bienne
Étang de Sault (by Martin’s ditch)
Birds:- Cattle Egrets in field beside Etang de Blizon nearby
Great White Heron in fields nearby, next to Etang Foucault.
Garden Warbler, Ringed Plover on drained fishpond,
Great and Longtailed Tits, Stonechat,
Melodious, Cetti’s and Sedge Warblers
Female Marsh Harrier,
Great Crested and Little Grebes,
Insects:- Scarce Swallowtail, Wall Brown, Common Blue, Orange Tip, Sooty Coppers,
Small Heath, Small Copper, Speckled Wood.
Speckled Yellow Moth, Browntail moth larvae, 2 spp Geometer larvae on willow
Hornet, various Ichneumon Flies,
Whitetailed Skimmer dragonfly Orthetrum albistylum.
Plants:- Woody Nightshade Solanum dulcamara, White Bryony, Dogrose Rosa canina,
Perforate St John’s wort Hypericum perforatum,
Longstemmed Cranesbill G. columbinum, Rampion Bellflower,
Ling Calluna vulgaris, Tree Heather Erica arborea,
Downy Oak Quercus pubescens
Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus minor, Tassel hyacinth
Nature Reserve south of Rosnay close to Les Bénismes
Plants:- Orchids: Tongue Serapias lingua, Greater Butterfly, Greenwinged (all shades)
Laxflowered (including very pale ones), Burnt Tip O.ustulata
Adder’s tongue Fern, Narrowleaved Water Dropwort,
Thyme-leaved Speedwell Veronica serpyllifolia,
Heath Speedwell Veronica officinalis,
Ragged robin in three shades,
Hoary Cinquefoil Potentilla argentea
Blue Bugle Ajuga genevensis, Wild Pear, Aspen Populus tremulus
Wild Service Tree,
Birds:- Skylark, Dark Kite, Redbacked Shrike, Woodlark,
Corn and Cirl Bunting and Yellowhammer,
Lapwing over nearby arable ?nesting
Golden Orioles, Blackbirds, Melodious and Garden Warblers,
Whitethroat, Nightingale, Cuckoo, Dunnock,
Green and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers.
Butterflies/Moths:- Scarce and ‘Common’ Swallowtails, Grizzled and Dingy Skippers,
Common, Small and Holly Blues, Sooty and Small Coppers,
Marsh, Knapweed and Glanvilles Fritillaries ,
Pale Clouded Yellow (possibly Berger’s Clouded Yellow), Clouded Yellow,
Camberwell Beauty, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Wall,
Brimstone, Large White.
Male Heath Moth (this moth species has different male and female forms),
Burnet Moth, Silver Y very common, Burnet Companion Moth,
Broadbordered Bee Hawkmoth, Treble-bar moth,
many different Geometer moth caterpillars.
Etc:- Emperor Dragonfly, dead slow worm, Roe Deer.
Maison du Parc at Le Bouchet – drinks and icecreams to die for.
Masses of Rosechafers, Hoverflies, a Comma and a Scarce Swallowtail on the Phytonia shrubs.
On the circular walk past the lakes:
Blacktailed Skimmer female, Broadbodied Chasers male and female
Little Robin (the plant not the bird) Geranium purpureum
Whitethroat, Garden and Melodious Warblers and 2 Purple Herons.
6. Monday May 15th
Tortoise hide at Étang Ricot for early start
Cetti’s, Reed and Savi’s Warblers singing.
Birds:- Bonelli’s Warbler, 2 Dark Kites, Mistle Thrush,
Woodlark feeding young
Female Redbacked Shrike
Plants:- Orchids – Tongue, Greenwinged, Laxflowered,
Thyme, Heath Speedwell, Common Storksbill,
Butterflies/Moths:- Small Heath, Sooty Copper, Silver Y moths, Wall Brown common,
Several Camberwell Beauty – one posed for us perfectly on a tree trunk
Small Copper, Scarce and Common Swallowtaisl, Southern White Admiral,
Wood White, a very large unidentified moth/butterfly ?large fritillary?
Dragonflies:- Bluetailed, Azure and Common Winter Damselflies,
Broadbodied and 4spotted Chasers,
Etc:- Sand Lizards x2, Cockchafer beetles, Rubytail wasps, Wood Ants.
bottom end of Bellebouche.
Male Hen Harrier
Glanvilles Fritillary, Sooty and Small Coppers, Scarce Swallowtail,
Small Heath and Wall Browns (common), Brimstone.
Tormentil, Burnt Tip Orchid, Meadow Clary, Lesser Stitchwort.
7. Tuesday May 16th
Early morning expedition past lake nr Château de Claveau
Blacknecked Grebes and Little Grebes,
3 Curlew, Redbacked Shrike, Stonechat in tightly grazed field.
False Acacia and Dogwood in flower,
Datura seedheads from last year in field, Sulphur clover Trifolium ochroleucon
7.2 Early morning expedition to Étang du Tran
Osprey, Hoopoes, Golden Orioles,
Great Crested Grebes destroying Whiskered Terns’ nest,
Savi’s Warbler singing.
to Chérine Nature Reserve hide in the thunderstorm
lots of Green Frogs plopping, some calling
2x Dark Kites, 2 prs Redbacked Shrikes, Cirl Buntings,
Melodious Warbler, Nightingale, female Marsh Harrier,
2x separate White Wagtails nesting in tussocks on lake
Shoveler, Gadwall, Pochard, 11 nonbreeding Mute Swans.
Greater Butterfly Orchid, St Lucie’s Cherry Prunus malaheb
Painted Lady and Small Heath butterflies.
To the Tortoise Hide as the heavy rain stopped
European Pond Tortoise
Lapwing and Blackwinged Stilts - 16 birds put up by a Sparrowhawk.
Honey Buzzards – 2 displaying, a distant but wonderful spectacle, including wingclaps and diving.
Dark Kite, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen with 4 young.
Speckled Wood and Holly Blue butterflies
Gabriau with Tony Williams
2x Honey Buzzards, 2 male Redcrested Pochards (now 37 in the Brenne)
distant Dark Kites
Coypu – eat water lilies and so threaten survival of the Whiskered Terns.
Lingé Étang de la Touche
Birds:- Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Hobbies, Short-toed Treecreeper,
Purple Heron building a nest
2x Marsh Harriers displaying, incl a young male.
Blacknecked and Greatcrested Grebes
Little Bittern – AT LAST!! After a lot of barking….(by Tony not the bird!)
Dragonflies:- Broadbodied and 4spotted Chasers, Blacktailed Skimmer, Downy Emeralds
Pond Tortoise climbing up a vertical sluice wall.
White Water Lily (Coypu food!), Greater Butterfly Orchid,
Star of Bethlehem Ornithogallum umbellatum.
Western Whip Snake dead on roadside.
8. Wednesday May 17th
Early morning visit to Étang Neuf north of Vendoevres 6.15am
Birds:- Marsh Harrier, Cuckoos, Whiskered Terns,
Blackheaded Gulls, Kingfisher,
Turtle Doves, Tree Pipit, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Chaffinch,
Little Grebe, Spotted Flycatcher, Reed Bunting,
Melodious and Cetti’s Warblers.
Plants on roadside close to Étang Vieux
Common Cow-wheat Melampyrum pratense, Rockrose,
Lungwort Pulmonaria sp., Hemp Agrimony Eupatorium cannabinum,
Common Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii,
Dragons’Teeth Tetragonolobus maritimus,
Laxflowered Orchid, Valerian, Meadow Saffron Colchicum autumnale.
Etc:- 2x Red Deer, squashed Hedgehog, and a real live Wild Boar!
Brief stop at the southern end of Bellebouche on the way back to breakfast
Reed Bunting, Melodious Warbler
Black Woodpecker calling
Little Bittern called once – or was it a dog? Or Tony Williams?
On the D15 near Loups a Mistle Thrush.
8.4 On road to Meobecq, near d’Ussau
Camberwell Beauty, Greenfinch, Dark Kite, Sedge Warbler.
Lake between d’Ussau and Châtres
4x Little Egret
5x Cattle Egret
Hoopoe, Whiskered Tern
Foret de Lancosme 1. roadside stop
Plants:- Orchids – Common Spotted, Birdsnest and Burnt Tip, Dewberry,
Pignut Conopodium majus, Dropwort, Quaking Grass Briza media,
Water Forgetmenot Myosotis scorpioides, Brooklime Veronica beccabunga,
Adderstongue Fern, Devilsbit Scabious Succisa pratense,
Spiked Rampion Phyteuma spicata, Solomon’s Seal Polygonatum multiflorum,
Asphodel Asphodelus aestivus, Goatsbeard Tragopogon pratensis,
Bugle Ajuga reptans, Bitter Vetchling Lathyrus montanus,
Lady’s Smock Cardamine pratense, Tree Heath Erica arborea,
Columbine Aquilegia vulgaris, Cowslips Primula veris
Woodland: oak (recently felled with 130 rings), hornbeam, conifers
Birds:- Wood Warbler, Chaffinch, Buzzards, Garden Warbler.
Butterflies/Moths:- Small Copper, Silver Y moths, Painted Lady,
Southern White Admiral, Duke of Burgundy.
Dragonflies:- Whitelegged and Bluetailed Damsels, 4spotted and Broadbodied Chasers,
Downy Emeralds, Blacktailed Skimmers, Beautiful Demoiselles C. virgo,
Etc:- dead U.S. catfish, Frog sp., Horse leech.
Chapelle of St Sulpice
Meadow Saxifrage Saxifraga granulata
Field Maple, Hazel, Hornbeam, oak, Blackthorn, Privet, Hawthorn.
Dropwort, Tuberous Comfrey Symphytum tuberosum.
Clouded Yellow butterfly
Longhorned Beetle black with white tips to its antennae.
Lunchstop and walk in Forêt de Lancosme
Plants:- Common Cow-wheat, Black Knapweed Centaurea nigra,
Wild service and Pear trees, Columbine, Asphodels,
Twayblade Orchids Listera ovata.
Butterflies:- several Duke of Burgundy butterflies entertained us,
Brimstones, Wall Browns, Wood White,
Broadbordered Bee Hawkmoth, Speckled Wood, Orange Tip, Red Admiral.
Chequered Skipper – confirmed from photo!!
Dying Large Tortoiseshell
Birds:- 4x Buzzards high in the sky, Wood and Bonelli’s Warblers, Tree Pipit, Marsh Tit,
Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Chaffinches, Chiffchaff, Robin.
Etc:- Stag Beetle
stop near Le Blizon
Mistle Thrush, Hoopoe
Painted Lady butterfly.
Birds:- Blackcaps, Hoopoe, Cuckoo, Mistle Thrush, Garden and Reed Warblers,
Great Crested Grebes, Cormorant,
Grey Herons on a Heronry
Wall Browns, Wood White, Orange tip, Glanvilles Fritillary, Speckled Wood.
Dragonflies:- Red-eyed Damsel, 4spotted Chaser
Plants:- Yellow water lilies.
Etc:- Pond tortoise, Horse Fly Chrysops sp.
9. Thursday May 18th
Back to sunny England – or further on to The Dordogne for the lucky ones!
Butterflies recorded on the Brenne visit May 11th – 18th 2006
Large Wall Brown Speckled Wood
Small Heath Grizzled Skipper
Dingy Skipper Chequered Skipper
Green Hairstreak Small Blue
Holly Blue Common Blue
Sooty Copper Small Copper
Pale Clouded Yellow possibly Berger’s Clouded Yellow
Brimstone Small White
Large White Green-veined White
Orange Tip Wood White
Swallowtail Scarce Swallowtail
Southern White Admiral Red Admiral
Camberwell Beauty Peacock
Painted Lady Large Tortoiseshell
Comma Marsh Fritillary
Small Pearlbordered Fritillary Weaver’s (or Violet) Fritillary
Knapweed Fritillary Glanville’s Fritillary
Duke of Burgundy
Orchid species recorded
Narrow-leaved Helleborine Cephalanthera longifolia
Twayblade Listera ovata
Tongue orchid Serapias lingua
Lady Orchid Orchis purpurea
Greenwinged orchid Orchis morio
Looseflowered Orchid Orchis laxiflora
Burnt Tip Orchid Orchis ustulata
Monkey Orchid Orchis simia
Greater Butterfly Orchid Platanthera chlorantha
Common Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii
Birdsnest Orchid Neottia nidus-avis