Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Birdlife

Summer marches on; although not as warmly or consistently as in previous years. Rather than the usual long days of hot sun, we have had one or two humid and sultry days to intersperse the rain and storms that seem set to continue until at least the end of the month.

It's good for the wildlife and nature. The grass grows as you watch it and the insects proliferate everywhere. The birds have plenty to eat! The redstarts have been back this year. Unable to get inside the house for the first time they have built nests under the terrace, on top of the pool filter, and in the garage on Ian's shelves. They seem to do quite well and the second batch are just learning to fly. One bird was a lot smaller than the rest and I saw it several times resting in the grass, or staring at me from the window ledge. It seemed quite fearless and I was sure it would be eaten by one of the cats or other hunters. But no.. it has persisted and is still around.

We have a pair of hoopoes that are feeding the garden. I'm not sure where the nest is, but they are amazing looking exotic things. Hoopoes appear each summer and return to warmer climates after they have nested.  When the dog is not in his outside house they take advantage of the structure to perch and rest. They also like to shelter from the rain.
Redstart and Hoopoe sheltering from rain



The 'hirondelles', which  are either swallows or swifts, also return this time of year. (In fact the French call the English second home owner 'les hirondelles' as they also  follow this migratory pattern!) They converge on the swimming pool first thing in the morning and in the evening to grab a drink and an insect or two. The other thing that happens this time of year is that the fields are cut for hay. This brings all the birds of prey out to 'shop', looking for some fast food. This one is a regular over our field this time of year. I think it is a kite.


Shopping




Saturday, 1 June 2013

Holidays

Phew..just catching up after a week away. We spent a lovely week in Limoux, in the heart of the Cathar country. Here are a few pictures.
The citie- Carcasonne

Vineyards of the Languedoc-Roussillon

Ax-les-thermes

Snow on the Pyrenees (in May)

 

Rennes le chateau