Visit Report Wednesday May 10th (The Advance Party’)




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NATURAL HISTORY TRAVEL
VISIT TO LA BRENNE, FRANCE
May 11th – 18th 2006

Visit Report

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.



    1. Mézières-en-Brenne

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,

Whiskered Terns,

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.



Mammals:- Coypu.

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,

Common Blue



Plants:- Wall Speedwell Veronica arvensis, Burnt Tip Orchid Orchis ustulata.

    1. 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.

    1. Étang near les Périnières

Grey heron, Purple Heron.

    1. 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

    1. 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.

Hoopoes.

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



    1. 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.


    1. 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


    1. Neons-sur-Creuse Peggy’s cow stop

Birds:- Montagu’s Harrier non-adult male, Corn Bunting, Stonechat,

Distant Bee-Eaters

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.



    1. 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.



    1. 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.



Mammals:- Coypu

Roe Deer


Insects:- Blacktailed Skimmers laying

    1. 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

    1. Stop on verge of D15 towards Rosnay

Grasshopper Warbler reeling

Laxflowered Orchid, Carthusian Pink, Pale Flax Linum bienne



    1. 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,

Gadwall.
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



    1. 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.

    1. 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


    1. Tortoise hide at Étang Ricot for early start

Cetti’s, Reed and Savi’s Warblers singing.

    1. Bellebouche

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,

Blue Bugle.


Butterflies/Moths:- Small Heath, Sooty Copper, Silver Y moths, Wall Brown common,

Several Camberwell Beauty – one posed for us perfectly on a tree trunk

Forester Moths

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,

Emperor Dragonfly.

Etc:- Sand Lizards x2, Cockchafer beetles, Rubytail wasps, Wood Ants.


    1. bottom end of Bellebouche.

Male Hen Harrier

Glanvilles Fritillary, Sooty and Small Coppers, Scarce Swallowtail,

Green Hairstreak,

Small Heath and Wall Browns (common), Brimstone.

Tormentil, Burnt Tip Orchid, Meadow Clary, Lesser Stitchwort.
7. Tuesday May 16th


    1. 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,

Displaying Curlews,

Great Crested Grebes destroying Whiskered Terns’ nest,

Savi’s Warbler singing.


    1. 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

Blacknecked Grebe,

Shoveler, Gadwall, Pochard, 11 nonbreeding Mute Swans.

Coypu

Greater Butterfly Orchid, St Lucie’s Cherry Prunus malaheb



Painted Lady and Small Heath butterflies.

    1. To the Tortoise Hide as the heavy rain stopped

European Pond Tortoise

Coypu,


Reed Warbler,

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


    1. 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.


    1. 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

Whiskered Terns

Pochard


Little Bittern – AT LAST!! After a lot of barking….(by Tony not the bird!)

Dragonflies:- Broadbodied and 4spotted Chasers, Blacktailed Skimmer, Downy Emeralds

Other:- Coypu

Muskrat


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

    1. Early morning visit to Étang Neuf north of Vendoevres 6.15am

Birds:- Marsh Harrier, Cuckoos, Whiskered Terns,

Blackheaded Gulls, Kingfisher,

Bittern booming,

Turtle Doves, Tree Pipit, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Chaffinch,

Grasshopper Warbler

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!

    1. 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?


    1. On the D15 near Loups a Mistle Thrush.

8.4 On road to Meobecq, near d’Ussau

Camberwell Beauty, Greenfinch, Dark Kite, Sedge Warbler.



    1. Lake between d’Ussau and Châtres

4x Little Egret

5x Cattle Egret

Hoopoe, Whiskered Tern

Corn Bunting.



    1. 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.

    1. 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.


    1. 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

    1. stop near Le Blizon

Mistle Thrush, Hoopoe

Painted Lady butterfly.



    1. Étang Massé

Birds:- Blackcaps, Hoopoe, Cuckoo, Mistle Thrush, Garden and Reed Warblers,

Great Crested Grebes, Cormorant,

Grey Herons on a Heronry

Coots


Little Bittern,

Butterflies/Moths:-Hummingbird Hawkmoth

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


Wall Brown

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
36 species

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


11 species


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