Wednesday, 23 May 2012

France Day 4: The (Amazing) Brenne

Another dull overcast dawn with no sign of the sun again, however yet again this didn't last too long and by lunch time temperatures were in the 20s with a beautiful sunny day.

Early morning walk (again woken by the Black and Common Redstarts) resulted in female Sparrowhawk new for my trip with all the usual suspects from the last few days, can't complain with a dawn chorus made up of Nightingale, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Melodious Warbler, Golden Oriole, Hoopoe, Cuckoo and Turtle Dove! Although the light was horrible I took a couple of pics on my phone just for Dave!

Turtle Dove purring away (phone-scoped at distance) 

Male Melodious Warbler (phone-scoped in poor light) 

Male Melodious Warbler (phone-scoped in poor light)

After breakfast we decided to head over to The Brenne (or properly: Parc Naturel Regional de la Brenne - I think). It was impressive to say the least and very different from the area we're staying in, even though its only a few miles away. We went to Cherine Reserve, Mezieres-en-Brenne, La Bouchet, Ruffec and Belabre. We stopped randomly at a few Etangs (lakes) around the route and were generally at the hands of the Sat Nav lady.

I won't bother will the full list (as it's quite long) but if anyone's interested drop me a comment and I can provide it. There was however several highlights and quite a few new trip birds, including Great Egrets, Little Egrets, 2 Purple Heron, 1 Black Stork (over Cherine), 3 White Stork (near Ruffec), 3 Short-toed Eagle, 15+ Black Kite, 1 Honey Buzzard, 1 cream-crowned Marsh Harrier (mobbing one of the STEagles!), 5/6 Hobby, 4 Whiskered Tern, Great Reed Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Western Bonelli's Warbler, 5 male Red-backed Shrike, Golden Oriole and Serin to name but  a few!

Me in the hide at Cherine Reserve - a bit of a different view to my usual haunt of the Geoff Smith Hide!

The scenery was really impressive and the landscape was interesting too. We'll definitely be going back and checking out some other locations and I may even try to get a dawn trip in to a couple of the more interesting looking areas next week. Mezieres-en-Brenne had a nice cake shop too!

By early afternoon the temperature was shooting up so we retired to the gite. Jenny sat in the sun reading her book and I sat with a cider in the sun, watching CSK win their qualifier in the IPL. Life couldn't get any better, or so I thought. I looked up to find 2 Honey Buzzard and a Hobby directly over the garden and a short while later a Middle Spotted Woodpecker shot through!

After our evening meal we walked a circuit above the gite which yielded excellent views of Golden Oriole, pair of Red-backed Shrike, Hoopoe, 4 Melodious Warblers and a Wryneck. A perfect end to the day. The Oriole and (male) Shrike even sat still long enough for a couple of record phone shots!

Golden Oriole (phone-scoped) 

Golden Oriole (phone-scoped) 

Male Red-backed Shrike (phone-scoped) a bit better than yesterdays attempt through binos - just!

With the increase in temperatures today it was noticeable just how many other 'creatures' were out and about, tonnes of dragonflies and damselflies, lots of butterflies (Speckled Wood, Southern White Admiral, Common Swallowtail to name a few) and lots of lizards too, and several European Pond Terrapins!

European Pond Terrapin (I presume)


  1. Sounds a bit like mine and Chris' morning around the LDV...

  2. haha yeah that would be pretty impressive!!