Self-Catering Holiday Gite Accommodation South Brittany France

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Bienvenue à La Belle Vilaine
Self-catering, holiday cottages on the South Brittany/Loire Atlantique border in France.
Friendly family run gite accommodation where dogs are welcome.


Nature Notes from La Belle Vilaine Gites, Brittany

April, 2007
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Wk 1 Well, better late than never - the weather has remained warm, dry and sunny for a week now, bringing out the birds and butterflies. We heard our first CUCKOO this evening (Sunday 8th) in the garden - about a week later than last year, although our friends Dave and Lorna heard a Cuckoo last week. We saw our first ORANGE TIP and SMALL COPPER butterflies of the year on Friday. Swallow numbers are still low. The Kestrels are continuing to nest in the tree at the bottom of our neighbour's field. Black Kites are continuing to increase in numbers.
Orchids on the cliff edge in southern Brittany

Early Purple Orchid
- taken Sunday, 8th
on the cliff walk near Damgan
about 20 minutes (drive) from home.

Wk 2
Eureka !!!!
You really get such a buzz when you see a new species "a lifer" for the first time .... and here is my latest "lifer" a BLUETHROAT with photo to prove it! We hired a "paddle-yoursef" rowing boat on Tuesday on the Grande Brière nature reserve (25 mins from home by car) with a couple of friends. Almost immediately we found this little beauty and then, just like buses ..........! The French name for this species is "Gorge-bleue à Mirroir" - the mirror part referring to the (not visible here) white patch in the centre of the vivid blue throat.
Rare birds abound in south Brittany!
Wk 2 .... We also saw numerous BLACK KITE, Marsh Harrier, Sedge Warbler, Sacred Ibis (which are becoming almost omnipresent), Little Egret among other species. Another highlight was the (sorry) again numerous Camberwell Beauty butterflies, but no Swallowtails for the moment. The mammal contingency consisted of Coypu, which although officially a menace, were very trusting and quite cute at close quarters. But the excitement didn't stop there this week - we at last heard the long-awaited HOOPOE again, although we have not seen one as yet this year. These birds are regulars in and around our garden here at our holiday gites in south Brittany. Walking the dogs down to the river for a swim today we also had good views of a RED SQUIRREL in the woods not far from home.
Wks 34 A second visit to the Grande Brière marshes on the 19th enabled Cheryl (our daughter) to see her first ever BLUETHROAT too. Also this week we saw a HOOPOE flying over the garden and have heard several calling. SWIFTS and HOUSE MARTINS are busy nest-building in the centre of La Roche-Bernard and "our" SWALLOWS are flitting in and out of our neighbours' barns. As we sailed up the River Vilaine on Saturday (21st) we were constantly serenaded by REED, SEDGE, CETTIS and FAN-TAILED WARBLERS and had several opportunities to watch BLACK KITES circling above us.
An adult student of mine reported seeing WHISKERED and BLACK TERNS and SPOONBILLS (nesting) on a trip around the Brière marshes on Sunday. He was with a group of people who were carrying out an official bird count on the nature reserve - I was quite jealous until he told me they had met up at 8.30 am!!!!
Today (Friday 27th) the first TURTLE DOVE of the year arrived in our garden.

La Belle Vilaine
Self-catering, holiday cottages on the South Brittany/Loire Atlantique border in France.
Friendly family run gite accommodation where dogs are welcome.