South Charente in August

The sunflower and maize fields clothe the hills in a pale yellow and dull green patchwork; the cereals have been harvested and the stubbled earth disced and left full of weeds. Fine Charente cattle with newborn calves and attendant bulls are in green pastures; the […]

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A Scarce Large Blue Day

12th August 2017 The weather is calm, cloudy and warm at Les Tourbières de Vendoire; a good day for looking for the scarce large blue Phengaris teleius butterfly, a species now restricted to only a handful of locations in western France. The French name l’azuré de la sanguisorbe is more […]

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July’s butterflies

In grassland fields near Theydon Bois in Essex, huge veteran oaks and long defunct hedgerows of blackthorn, bramble and elm play host to little owls, woodpeckers and flocks of young blue and great tits and the July butterflies are abundant. One of the old oaks […]

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Box Hill

Box Hill is 30 degrees in the midday sun and lean cyclists in colourful jerseys pedal hard up the narrow road that zig-zags through steep slopes of chalk grassland with patches of dogwood, whitebeam and bramble topped by woodland dominated by beech, ash and hanging […]

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Leiosoma troglodytes lives on

My old friend Adrian Fowles wrote recently from Ynys Môn after a week’s holiday (well, as a National Weevil Recorder it was a weevil hunt) on the downs and woodlands of East Kent, which included a day out together in the great swathe of woodlands at Denge […]

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Fackenden in July

Six hobbies hunt insects across the long slope of the down under grey clouds on a warm, humid evening. A sparrowhawk rushes to the woodland with hurried flaps and glides and the evening turns to a quiet dusk. A male yellowhammer sits on the top […]

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Wet nights and warm days in Wales

In the conifer forests at Clocaenog, the night is swept by cloud and rain; in the few clear periods before midnight, midges and moths are on the wing and nightjars churr incessantly from the clearings. Tony Cross catches a male in a mist net but […]

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Minsmere’s old retainer

The early morning at Minsmere is warm and humid under a blue sky. The view from the Island Mere Hide is a huge reedbed enclosing a long shallow waterbody where mute swans and great crested grebes idle on the water and cormorants and common terns […]

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Summer days at Bois Jarzeau

The heat of the past few days brings dark thunderstorms that travel up from the south over the wooded hills to the west, then switch direction, run up the Vallée de la Tude, and deluge the ground. The humidity immediately drops and the cool, clear air is cleaned […]

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Pech Bely in late May

The land is dry, the barley fields are high and field margins and fallows full of colourful plants. The vines are putting on their light green leaf. A distant woodlark sings its fluting song in the cloudless dawn, later joined by a weeping tree pipit, […]

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