Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Nature Adventurers Overseas - La Brenne (Day 1)

Back in Mid-June my boyfriend Rob, and I ventured over the sea to France for a holiday with a hint of nature. We had arranged to stay in a self-catering Gite for a week in Parc Naturel Regional de la Brenne - a National Park in central France. We had heard a lot about La Brenne from various friends and work colleagues and were keen to visit and explore the fantastic fauna and flora we had heard so much about.
The next few blog posts are a 'shortened' account of our adventures each day:

Friday 19th June
Took the evening ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe. Drove for a good few hours before finding a service station to pull over and nap in - I'll add a VW golf is not a very comfy bed...

Saturday 20th June
Arrived in La Brenne around 8am. Our first stop was Le Blanc, probably the biggest town in the National Park. We had stumbled upon market day - quite an experience for two very tired people whose French is barely GCSE level... From the visuals though I'm pretty sure we were offered dead chickens with their heads still attached and various forms of rabbit.

Driving away from the hustle and bustle, we found a lovely quiet spot on the edge of Etang Purais - one of the two thousand or so lakes in La Brenne. On arrival in to the car park we were greeted by some beautiful butterflies including Marbled brown, Brimstone, and Marbled fritillary. Just a few yards away from the car park there is a bird hide looking out over the lake. Here we saw lots of Whiskered terns fishing, Red-crested pochard, Tufted duck, Purple heron, Great crested grebe, and a Coypu swimming amongst the lillies.

Just keep swimming - Coypu
Later that afternoon we arrived at our Gite for the week. It was beautiful. We were staying in the tiny rural village of Champ d-oeuf near to Martizay. Our hosts Chris and Sue were there to welcome us and gave us a tour of the Gite and their lovely garden. Their Lavendar patch was incredible - it was literally buzzing with Hummingbird Hawk-moths!

Hummingbird Hawk-moth in the garden
Other highlights from our first day in La Brenne included two Hen harriers, Cattle egret, Stonechat, Redstart, and a Red squirrel in our hosts garden.