Pech Bely in late May

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French Wildlife

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, wheezing black redstart and the dull rattle of a cirl bunting. A male nightjar churrs just once in the middle of the day. The days are long and hot, the birds go quiet; the soothing rhythms of cicadas and crickets together with the gentle hum of bees fill the still air.

In the many patches of limestone grassland and juniper scrub, or causse, day-flying moths and butterflies, bees, hoverflies and beetles are present in good numbers. White flax, wild thyme and yellow trefoils create a bright mosaic amongst the lichen, sedges and grasses. Red helleborines and greater and lesser butterfly orchids light up the dark, scrub woodlands of oak, Montpellier maple and wild service tree. Lizard orchids are common in the ditches; in one, there is also a small patch of wild gladiolus. Ubiquitous pyramidal orchids are in their prime and fragrant orchids just flowering.

Pech Bely 1

Moulin à vent near Pech Bely

The cereal agriculture is intensive but only occupies a small fraction of the landscape of woodland, causse and small, weed-filled vineyards that rolls away into the far distance from the viewpoint at the restored Moulin à vent de Bagor.

Pech Bely 4

Red helleborine

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