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.

Wed 1st A sunny, dry day. Teaching got in the way of wildlife watching again today - vive la retraite!
Fri 3rd It was mainly dry today, but managed to rain at the exact moment when we were as far away as possible on our dog walk - it helpfully stopped when we got indoors! It is possible that the Redwings and Fieldfares have left us for their breeding grounds, as we have not seen the flock for a day or two.
Sat 4th Four inches of snow!! It started during the night and didn't stop until late afternoon - although the sun was beginning to thaw it out by then.
Sun 5th Dry and sunny - all the snow had melted by early evening. I wonder how many early nesting attempts have fallen victim to this un-expected weather.
Mon 5th Dry and sunny. We had some Redwing in the garden today - so they haven't all left for Scandinavia just yet.
Tues 6th
Wet all day. I have just been watching a Firecrest in the hedgerow outside the office window.
Fri 10th We have continued to suffer strong winds and rain all week. The rain we needed, but the wind we could have lived without! There has been very little activity on the wildlife front - they must be keeping their heads down like us! Although I did hear a blackbird singing its heart out this morning during the early hours.
Sun 12th I am very happy to report that we saw the male Hen Harrier again today, although not in the usual area - so maybe it was a different individual.
Mon 13th At last the sunshine returned to Le Bois Nouvel! We took the opportunity between lessons to walk the dogs and were rewarded with very good views of a pair of BLACK WOODPECKERS. These woodpeckers are the size of a small crow and not present in the UK, so we are very fortunate to have them resident here.
Tues 14th
More sunshine today and another walk through the woods overlooking the river. This time Gracie and Ficelle put up a pair of roe deer, which then ran across in front of our noses! We also saw a Cirl Bunting in the hedgerow.
Wed 15th Still sunny. So far this week we have had both a Large White (Sunday) and a Brimstone (Tuesday) in the garden. Still no sign of returning Black Kites, but I did see a lone Fieldfare today. These birds mainly breed in Scandinavia, although some do breed in eastern France. I would expect this Fieldfare to leave us fairly shortly.
Thurs 16th More sunshine today. Yesterday evening, around 9pm, Cheryl was driving home from work when she came across 3 Wild Boar crossing the country lane in front of her - we had been told that they were present, but had never seen them as they are so secretive. This afternoon I was treated to a lovely serenade by a Cirl Bunting in the garden - the song struck me as that of a Yellowhammer without the "cheeeeeese" at the end. Also of note today is the fact that our pair of Kestrels are nesting in a tree at the end of the garden - they have been displaying over the last week, but today they mated and were seen on the nest.
Fri 17th
Breaking news!!!!! Cheryl texted me around 3pm to say that there were SWALLOWS flying around the car park at work in Vannes. The earliest we have ever seen them before is on the 1st of April and with all this cold weather it really surprises me that they are here already!
Sat 18th We saw the Kestrel on the nest at the end of the garden again today. We also saw a good-sized flock of Fieldfare at the end of the lane.
Sun 19th The wind has dropped today and it has been overcast with temperatures of around 12 degrees. With the arrival of Swallows on Friday it seems very strange that we again saw several Fieldfare and Redwings in the ploughed field nearby. Even more of a surprise was the vibrantly-coloured male BRAMBLING which arrived in the garden this afternoon, tagging along with a flock of Goldfinches!
Mon 20th Today the temperature reached 19 degrees on our outdoor thermometer which is not in the sun! The butterflies certainly came out in force to enjoy it aswell. Red Admiral, Brimstone and Large White were all seen more than once and a Bumble Bee along with other smaller bees were buzzing around the grass.
Tues 21st Just when we'd thought that spring had sprung ..... overcast, cold and drizzly! Looking out of the office window across the field, I have been watching 3 nests under construction. The first were the Magpies, then a pair of Kestrels began building about 200 m away. A few days later a pair of crows decided to set up home in a tree only 30 m from the Kestrels - the result is lots of arguing between the Magpies and the Crows (situation normal there!) and, unfortunately, it would appear that the Kestrels have abandoned ship!
Thurs 23rd Still wet and cool. The Magpie nest is really quite impressive - it seems to have a "roof", it is certainly dome-shaped, which is a good idea with all this rain!
Fri 24th
Still wet and cool with strong winds last night. Today we had a pair of BLACK REDSTART and a pair of Chiffchaff in the garden
Sun 26th The SWALLOWS have arrived at La Belle Vilaine! It's a dull day, but our thermometre outside is reading 20 degrees. A male Brimstone butterfly came out to enjoy the heat too. STOP PRESS - we've just been for a walk along the river and saw several Peacock butterflies, heard lots of bird song (Song Thrush, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Black Woodpecker(call), Skylarks among others) then came our FIRST SIGHTING THIS YEAR OF A BLACK KITE.
Mon 27th Still dull and windy. On his way to Redon this afternoon, Paul saw a Red Squirrel crossing the road. The Swallows are more numerous today - I counted at least 5 in one go.
Tues 28th The weather was very changeable today - typical April Showers (in March, which may be due to the fact that the litteral French translation is "La giboulée de mars "(March). However, it is good news for the plantlife - the village is carpeted with Lesser Celandine and the Mimosa trees are finally in flower - according to one local lady, 2 months late!
Fri 31st Today Paul heard the Cuckoo today. Our neighbour, Marie-Antoinette heard it last week. The weather continues to be windy and wet and cool - roll on spring!

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.