La Vallée de la Tude

A long section of the river Tude around Chalais in the South Charente is specially protected for its range of wetland habitats and associated species. The introduction to the detailed protected area document describes a small, lowland river and its tributaries in an area of mixed farming: Le site Natura 2000 « Vallée de la Tude »Continue reading “La Vallée de la Tude”

Hawfinch wars

Hawfinches are abundant in the oakwoods around Boisjarzeau this Spring; the birds stay high in the treetops but give themselves away with their clipped tsick calls. At the bird feeders, they sit in the basket of sunflower seeds and don’t give way to any of the mob of other finches and house sparrows. The hawfinches haveContinue reading “Hawfinch wars”

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 calves are only present for a few days before beingContinue reading “South Charente in August”

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 of pollen and dust. The fields of cereals and youngContinue reading “Summer days at Bois Jarzeau”

Bois Jarzeau Encore

The land of the south Charente is a changing; old fashioned, low intensive mixed farming is on the wane and new intensive agriculture is spreading. The old is untidy and intricate, fascinating but inefficient; and the new, uniform and sharp-lined, mundane but productive and profitable. Young Limousine bull in an ancient pasture land; herds of these fineContinue reading “Bois Jarzeau Encore”