Catching up with old friends in the South Charente

A few days in the South Charente at Boisjarzeau in late July provided the opportunity to catch up with some good friends. This included the large coppers in the small, damp meadow beyond the lake seen for the first time in 2018 and not found in 2020. Thankfully, a single female was on the water mint that flowers along with the purple loosestrife and fleabane in the central ditch; so this small colony persists!

There are many other local butterfly species, including the more widespread but vividly colourful, lesser purple emperors with a regular territory on either side of the railway underpass below the hameau; these usually dash around, sit up on the trees and shrubs and often come down to take salts in the soft mud by the stream. This year was no exception but the single emperor never settled for very long in the cool, cloudy weather and so was not very accommodating. In the flower margins alongside the railway, we found a range of familiar species, but also a single but worn large blue, which was a great surprise and a good find and must be associated with the marjoram there.

Every patch of small woodland around Boisjarzeau seems to have a purring turtle dove, which is heartening and possibly an increase on past years, but all remain extremely elusive and cleverly hide in the upper branches of tall oaks and ashes. I counted five ‘purrers’ within half a mile of the house.

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