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.

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Wk 1

It is rare that Autumn lets us down in France and this year is no exception. We are enjoying warm, sunny, dry weather at last! The SWALLOWS are very busy swooping and chattering above the garden and yesterday (5th) a HOBBY (FAUCON HOBEREAU) was trying its best to help itself to one for dinner! On Sunday (2nd) Cheryl and her boyfriend saw an OSPREY (BALBUZARD PECHEUR) hunting above a nearby lake - lucky them!!

On the butterfly front we are still recording MAP BUTTERFLY in the garden this week. I've counted over 60 (!!!) Peacock cocoons hanging around our house (litterally!). They have already begun to hatch out.

 
Wildlife holidays in Brittany France

Peacock butterfly caterpillar preparing to spin his cocoon.
Nature in South Brittany

Is it a bird? Is it a bat .......?
 
Bird-watching holidays in Brittany
Juvenile Avocet (Avocette Elégante), taken at a nature reserve 30 mins drive from us in south Brittany.
  During the last week of August we visited a nearby nature reserve and had some very interesting conversations in the hides - every bird was named in French, English and Dutch, due to the mix of nationalities! This particular reserve provides an up-to-date list of species recorded in both French and English and the wardens are very clued-up to help non-French-speaking visitors. Amongst the species we recorded were: SPOONBILL (10), SPOTTED RED-SHANK, GREENSHANK, GREEN SANDPIPER, HOBBY, SNIPE, AVOCET (up to 100, including juveniles), GREY PLOVER, RINGED PLOVER, BLACK-WINGED STILT, RUFF, COMMON AND SANDWICH TERN. They have had almost daily sightings of OSPREY but guess what!
Wk 1 ... continued OSPREYS continued to dominate our bird-watching trips this week, with good sightings at two different spots. Otherwise, we have had more sightings of CRESTED TIT in the woods nearby whilst walking our dogs. A Fritillary butterfly (possibly a Pearl-bordered) was a nice, if frustrating, encounter (didn't have the camera or identification guide on me!).
Wk 2

It comes to something when I hesitate to mention an OSPREY sighting for fear of becoming too repetitive, but here goes - on Monday, we had a good view of one flying slowly over the marshes near Vannes. Also present at the same location were an impressive 5 HOBBIES, who hunted infront of the viewing platform for more than 30 minutes, a Kingfisher, a flock over 50+ Lapwing, 3 SPOONBILL, 30+ Little Egret and a WHITETHROAT. Just as we turned to continue our walk a very healthy FOX ran past with prey in its mouth. SWALLOWS continue to chatter noisily above the garden - counts reached 130+ on Friday. Whether they are "our" local birds, or others that have already completed a part of their long journey has been a subject of debate (we're easily entertained!).
On the butterfly front, we still have good numbers of Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Brimstone and Large White. A MAP was visiting flowers in the garden on Saturday and one or two SMALL HEATHS have been recorded. Lone CLOUDED YELLOWS (one in the garden and one on a nature reserve) were the only records so far this year - very unusual. The highlight of the week was a SMALL BLUE - identified by the dark, dusky colour with white edging and smudges of blue on the upper wings and the size - along the roadside near home.

Wk 3 Swallow numbers are falling as more and more of them leave us for warmer climes. We walked along the river bank on Friday afternoon and came across a female HEN HARRIER and a MARSH HARRIER both quartering the fields as well as a very tame WHEATEAR. Chiffchaffs have been singing. There was another sighting of a CLOUDED YELLOW in the garden this week.
 
Click here to see other nature photos taken 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.