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Sunday, 20 April 2014

More wildlife sightings

It seems to be lizard season here right now, but unfortunately that means they are easy prey for the cats. One of the rotters brought this beautiful large lizard indoors and dumped it there. My OH yelled at me to get my camera, and when I saw it I couldn't believe it! It measured 4 inches (10cm) from head to the base of its tail. Unfortunately it had lost its tail, not such a big problem as they grow back, but I also saw in some of the close up photos that I took that it had bite marks on it, and a bit of blood. 

Poor thing. We put it back by the steps to the garage under the Euphorbias and just have to hope for the best. It's a Western Green Lizard (Lacerta bilineata) and I've never seen one before, so really surprised to see one here. Apparently their head and body length can reach 5 inches, and up to 16 inches to the tip of the tail! The next day I saw a small one with green colouring under its head so assume it's a young one of this species. That one was OK, thankfully.

Western Green Lizard just after we put it back outside.

It didn't look very happy so I hope it survived.
I didn't want to share the better photos I took which show up the injuries behind the head.

And in other wildlife news:

Tadpoles! More excitement as I haven't seen any here for years.
I also got to test out how a polarising filter really works against reflection!

But to get to the tadpoles I had to pass the ducks on the
narrow path, so they went into frantic nervous preening mode!

Drinker Moth caterpillar (Euthrix potatoria).
I couldn't find the ID myself but I have just joined an excellent insect group
on facebook and I get IDs in minutes, the people there are that good.

Yet to get an ID but this is either a wasp, or a bee that looks like a wasp!
That's a tiny weevil in the background and this activity is all inside a tulip.

A male Orange Tip butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines).
They are hard to capture as they never stay still for long.

Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria).

We went back to the Marais de Sougeal last week. By this time the water meadow has been drained although there are a few mini lakes that are permanent, and water channels, streams and ditches, so plenty of water for the water birds that stay here all year round. This time we got to walk along the new path which was no longer flooded and discovered that the hut in the distance was none other than a brand new hide! With windows that open too, shock horror! 

The birds and ducks were very distant but we did clock up yet another Lifer - two Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus)! They are migratory waders, wintering in Africa and here they are en route to their breeding grounds in the far north. These two could end up in northern Scotland, Iceland, Scandinavia or northern Russia, who knows! 

The path to the new hide. The bank is brand new and has been planted up with shrubs and trees.
I guess eventually we won't have much of a view over the meadow except from the hide.

Rubbish photo because it was so far away but I can't see as clearly
as this through my binocs! A Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus).

I went wandering off looking for bugs amongst the stinging nettles and comfrey that covered the bank between the meadow and the path, and found my first damselfly of the year!

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans), violet form.
I believe this is an immature female.

After a while it hopped to another blade of grass.
I'm not sure what the red blob is, I wonder if it is an egg of some kind?

Then got fed up with the camera in its face and flitted off further away!

What amazes me is how grass and other plants survive being under water for a month or two then spring back and carry on growing like nothing happened. In the meadow were also many Cardamine pratensis flowers, known as Cuckoo Flower or Lady's Smock. This is one of the food plants for the larvae of Orange Tip butterflies.


  1. The lizard looks great, too bad he was in poor shape though, but your 1st close-up picture is splendid!
    The PF really does wonders, I might get one too :-)
    I loved the whole series (well, I'm a fan!) but the bee/wasp, weevil and gorgeous yellow tulip is my favourite. The stamen on the top left looks like a paintbrush, with which you have just painted your picture :-)
    Happy jour férié, Mandy, and let the sun shine its brightest :-)))

    1. Hi Marie-Helene and thank you. I've no idea if the open mouth look is distress or not but I'm afraid that was a photo op for me!

      I've just taken a few more pics of the paintbrushes in tulips! I hadn't thought about them looking like that before, but they do. In the photo here I had to reach over other plants and tulips and could barely reach, so surprised I got anything in focus at all.

      Well it was a pleasant day here after all, the sun shone this afternoon and it got a lot warmer than the last few days. Thanks for your visit, my friend!

  2. Great photos Mandy, the green Lizard is "green",I have never seen a Lizard in the UK, put it on my list to find this year.It's a long time of before we see any Damselflies around here. Trying to get to grips with Spiders ...! would you take a look at this chap he is sat with a Common Footman Caterpillar, having trouble with I.D. Has thick "Palps" Thank you if you get chance.
    Amanda X

    1. Thanks Amanda! I don't know much about lizards and how far north you find them in the UK. Usually seen on stone walls basking in the sunshine. I haven't seen any damselfies yet at home but I keep looking!
      I've commented on your blog but you'll know that.

  3. Had a look we have just three native lizards in England, sand,common and slow-worm. The common lizard can be seen all over even as far as Scotland,

    1. Hopefully you'll see a common lizard one day, Amanda!

  4. Happy Earth Day!!! Your post is a wonderful reminder of how much we all love and want to take care of our earth :-)

    The Lizard is a beauty! Hope he makes it. Excellent photos as always! A very enjoyable read :-)

    1. Thanks very much Marianne! Now I'll go and comment on the other post where we were discussing things. :-)