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.

Wk 1 Weather improving slowly - sunshine today (Sunday 8th). During the week we have seen a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER, HOOPOE, BLACK KITE, YELLOWHAMMER and CIRL BUNTING - among the highlights of the week on the bird front. The butterflies came out in force today - including a lovely PURPLE HAIRSTREAK - a first for our garden. Current visitors to our gites are very knowledgeable and took some excellent photos of some of the wildlife they have found in the garden during this, their first week. Go to the link above for photos. Among the species they have clocked up are - Swallowtail, Camberwell Beauty, Map, Purple Hairstreak, Silver-Washed Fritillary, White Admiral, Essex Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Gatekeeper, Wall, Peacock (egg laying) and a Marsh Frog. They are very pleased to have seen at least one new species per day!
Wildlife holidays gites south Brittany

Purple Hairstreak
Wildlife holidays in Brittany France

Female Purple hairstreak
Birdwatching breaks in Brittany France
Birding holidays in South Brittany France
Wk 2

What a week - sunny weather and great wildlife! The RED-BACKED SHRIKE pair were a first for us since we have been living in France and were found whilst out walking the dogs near the river less than a mile from home. I also came across a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER in the woods between us and the river, a good count of Black Kites during a river trip on our boat and a SMALL BLUE butterfly - which our 8-year old guest (much more knowledgeable than me!) kindly pointed out to me when we berthed-up for a picnic. A walk down to the end of our garden brought me a pair of MAP BUTTERFLIES - a regular here at this time of year. Other highlilghts clocked-up by our gite guests this week were - NIGHTJAR, BLACK WOODPECKER, HOOPOE, FIRE SALAMANDER, TREE FROG, COMMON SPADEFOOT (frog), MARSH FROG, POOL FROG, EDIBLE FROG, , WALL AND GREEN LIZARDS, GRASS SNAKE, PRAYING MANTIS, OIL BEETLE, WHITE ADMIRAL, LARGE, SMALL, ESSEX, DINGY AND LULWORTH SKIPPERS, SWALLOWTAIL, CAMBERWELL BEAUTY, BROWN ARGUS, LARGE TORTOISHELL, PURPLE HAIRSTREAK, SILVER -WASHED FRITILLARY, QUEEN OF SPAIN FRITILLARY, SMALL COPPER, SILVER-STUDDED BLUE, COMMON BLUE, SMALL BLUE, HOLLY BLUE, BRIMSTONE, LARGE WHITE and WOOD WHITE. All these species were found within walking distance of our gites and home. Thank you to our guests from Ireland for this detailed list, which the boys left in our Visitors' Book along with the very kind comments. It just shows that a bit of local knowledge helps!

Rare butterfly near our gites in South Brittany
I found and photographed this tiny LulworthSkipper butterfly on 14th July just a few minutes walk from home. I was tipped-off by our gîte guest, who had located the small group the day before.
Wk 3 It takes an expert to identify rare butterflies like the Lulworth Skipper, but now I know of the site I hope I will be able to find them every year - we'll see. The key identification points are, firstly the size - this truly is a tiny butterfly (look at the comparison with the Bird's-foot Trefoil) - and, secondly, the yellowish horseshoe shape on the wing of the female (just about visible in the photo).
Wow!! I wish I had been there! This Nightjar was photographed by our guests in the woods by La Fontaine de St. Cry - about 1 mile from our house and gîtes! Thanks to the Harding family for kindly sending me a copy for publication.
Bird watching holidays in South Brittany is really something else!
Wk 4 Weather improved slightly this week. There are still plenty of Swallows around our garden and the Black Kites are also regulars - circling overhead. The Red-Backed Shrike was still present when we walked down to the river bank and Fan-tailed Warblers continue to make their presence known by their "chip, chip" call as they fly over the reeds. One thing that we are still missing so far this summer are the Clouded Yellows, which are normally present in good numbers now.
Click here to see nature photos taken in our garden - others available in Nature Notes Archives

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.