Sunday, 28 February 2010


In the last few days, spring has sprung. Despite the dire weather forecasts, we have had beautiful warm sunny days and the rain has only come at night. It has given us the opportunity to spend time outside and listen to the wildlife again.

Red-backed shrikeWe have had several guests staying here, who have come specifically for bird watching. One chap let me look through his telescope at a red-backed shrike perched on a post in the field at the back of our house. I am reliably informed that we have an amazing range of birds that can be seen here, in the garden, in the fields and in the forest.

Sadly I do not know enough to identify all the bird song, I would love to know which bird it is that sounds like it’s laughing in the forest or the one that sits in dead the tree in the field and sounds like a telephone, but I can identify the nightingale that sings in the tree outside our bedroom window, it has a quite amazing variety in its song.

In the garden we have all the usual suspects of course and we have great tits, redstarts and wrens that nest in and around the house every year. The little ones are such fun to watch when they have their first flying lessons.

HoopoeOne of my favourites is the Hoopoe who hovers in mid-air in front of our kitchen window before darting off to land on the roof of the séchoire. He never fails to amaze city dwellers who come here, with the strange fan-shaped plumage on his head rather resembling a mohican. And I will never forget the crowd of long tail tits that invaded our cherry tree one late summer afternoon, zooming around and wobbling their tails.

One gite guest, who comes back regularly, told us she just likes to sit in the garden and listen. At home she can’t hear any natural sounds and here she can’t hear any man-made sounds except the bells of Taizé three times a day. She described the quiet as wrapping itself around her like a comfort blanket, and on a day like yesterday, I fully understand what she means. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why so many people come back year after year.

La Tuilerie Website has more pictures of the wildlife around here.

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