Saturday, 12 November 2011

Trip to Le Brenne

Friday the 11th of November - Armistice Day of course and although there wasn't a poppy to be seen on either lapel or armband it is a public holiday here in France and the glorious autumnal weather brought many out into the great outdoors. Must admit though I wasn't expecting quite so many family parties and fellow enthousiasts in the Parc Naturel 'Le Brenne'

Situated just to the North of Le Blanc and about 50 kilometers from me in La Macherie, the Le Brenne area is a major fishing resource for France but also an area of outstanding wildlife was given reserve status in 1989. Its an area of many lakes and ponds - some small, some large and some say there are more than 1500 of them! Difficult to believe but as you can see from the following satellite image (Google maps) it's not a dry area!

 Explore the whole area here  and see how many you can count!

I only had 3 hours but managed a good explore of the Western end of the place - there's a scattering public hides on some of the bigger lakes, access to others is a 'stop the car by the road' job and many of the other lakes and wetland areas are frustratingly on private ground but all in all its a lovely area whether you're into wildlife or not. Now I'm not sure how 'into' wildlife the French are but although the public tracks thronging with strollers and the hides packed, I dont recall one fellow birder ... plenty of cameras big and small on show of course but think I was the only one with binoculars!

I think the French just love to admire beautiful things and its true they do value their countryside, more I think than we do in the UK. Anyway, before this turns political (this blog is supposed to be entertaining!) ... here's a few pics (not mine) of what they had come to admire.

 Etange Mer Rouge

Fond Ecran Eau

I did manage to reel off a few good photographs of my own from the hides, bird orientated of course but there's also a Coypu in there and joy of joys I managed my first Kingfisher pic!

Kingfisher. Shame about the obscuring branch but not a bad pose - look at that beak!

Reed Bunting. Looking splendid in the late afternoon sun

Coypu. Common mammals in Le Brenne, this one swam right in front of ther hide.

Water Rail. Always tricky to photograph because they're so shy .. the only other one I got was by mistake - it turned up in the background of a shot of some waders at Blacktoft Sands in Yorkshire!

Here's a big brown cow with horns for those that like such creatures!

And to finish off one of several Great Egrets that stalk the lagoons in search of unlucky frogs .... this one looks like he's stepping over the ducks!

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