Thursday, 25 December 2014

La Réserve Naturelle du Pinail

Human activity has always changed the environment and in this article in 2014 I took a quick look at an extraordinary area that since 1980 has been the first and only State Nature Reserve in the Vienne departement of France, La Réserve Naturelle du Pinail which is located in the commune of Vouneuil-sur-Vienne, (86210). The Reserve is 30 km north-east from Poitiers and 15 km south from Chatellerault where it sits high on the plains between the river valleys of the Vienne and the Clain, at the north of the state owned Moulière forest. The reserve is well worth a visit, especially for people with an interest in Odonata, (Dragonflies and Damselflies) CONTINIUED HERE.


Friday, 19 December 2014

Harriers and their protection

It seems such a waste to restrict some of my articles to a limited audience when this blog and the web sites are viewed around the world and so I'm starting to put some on the web site.

This is Harriers and their protection from an article in 2014 for Living Magazine which is an English language magazine covering Poitou-Charentes, Dordogne, Vendée and Haute-Vienne in south west France.

The plains of Poitou-Charentes and Vendée whether they be the high open windswept areas such as those characterises by the areas to the north west and west of Poitiers towards Thouars and Parthenay or the vast low open wetlands of the Marais poitevin and coastline are especially suited to certain birds, some of which are under severe pressure at the European and National level making our region particularly important for their continued well being..............      

Living Magazine


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Thistles and Dandelions

Very few people are neutral when it comes to certain native plants, (or weeds as they are often known as), especially the more robust and common types such as Dandelions and Thistles and I certainly don’t want them in my vegetable or flower beds. However they along with a few other native plants form the most important natural source of nutrition for many of our butterflies, bees, hoverflies and other flying insects growing as they do in a vast range of different habitats and are worth a second thought before trying to chop them down or poison them at every opportunity as is sadly the case in an increasingly tidy and over managed landscape here in France.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Of course I don’t expect for one minute that anyone will suddenly think “Oh, I must grow some thistles or sow a dandelion patch” especially if they live in an urban environment or in very close proximity to their neighbours but I would like to encourage anyone with some land or with larger gardens to leave a few thistles and to perhaps let dandelions flower for a while just to see for themselves just how beneficial they are and how many different creatures use them.  

I also leave the seed heads to stand on all the plants in our fields which provide food for seed eating insects and birds throughout the autumn and winter months as well as providing a depth of ground cover for the birds that require it.

With this in mind I've compiled a simple web page with some photos of thistles and insects that have been mainly taken on our land.     CLICK HERE