Back again like a bad penny. I know it's been a while and I was desperate to get this post up but guess what, we decided to go away again this last week so there was no time! But I want to keep a record of all our trips so finally here's the first one, which is from several weeks ago. Of course I had way too many photos so have condensed many down by collaging them and splitting this three day trip into two posts.
For this trip, our first proper one as virgin motorhomers, we booked a campsite not far from the coast near Sarzeau, on the Presqu'île de Rhuys in Morbihan, southern Brittany. It was French school holidays so whilst the weather wasn't great, we were not sure what to expect in terms of numbers of people. It seemed that some campsites right beside the ocean were quite full whereas the one that we chose was practically empty, so we were happy about that! The first day we revisited the Reserve Naturelle de Séné, which we had discovered and visited twice in spring 2014. It's good for Avocet watching as they nest here and there are many other species of birds to be seen. We managed to see two lifers, a Reeve (which is a female Ruff) - not exciting for me as it was distant and just looked like many other wading birds, and finally the elusive Bluethroat, although I really only saw its head whilst K manged to get a good view of the blue throat. We have not seen one since despite being in Bluethroat territory the whole time. Ah well.
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) - in French they are called Avocette élégante, which is a very suitable descriptive name for them.
View from one of the many hides, but they keep the plastic windows shut here - good for keeping the wind out, not so great for taking photos through. All the photos in the post can be clicked on to open larger, which is better for the collaged photos and landscapes.
I am rubbish at wader ID so leave that to Keith. This is a Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), which I'm just about beginning to recognise. It doesn't help that at this time of year so many birds are changing to their breeding plumage from winter plumage which can be completely different. If you catch one in between the change it can be even more difficult to ID them.
Of course I knew what these were though! They were walking across a path and are the caterpillars of the Pine Processionary Moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa). Those hairs are dangerous and can cause nasty rashes so I was a bit wary getting in to take the close up pic!
I also recognised this lady as I'd seen one before. It seemed quite happy to stand and pose on the boardwalk whilst both we and another family took photos of it. It's a European Green Lizard (Lacerta viridis) and I'm pretty sure it's a female as the males have blue under their throats.
It was a delight to see a Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) relatively close up too.
Though I forgot the birds when I saw this fox on one of the banks amongst the lagoons. Probably looking for a free lunch but that is nature for you. I expect they eat a number of bird eggs during the breeding season. That's a Shoveler in the background.
There were plenty of Redshanks (Tringa totanus) around and I can recognise them now so long as I see their red legs and their bills which contain some red too.
More Avocets :-)
Oh here comes a phone photo..... eating dinner the first night. I took ready prepared meals from the freezer, a hearty soup/stew for the first night to eat with bread rolls, and good old spag bol for the second, which only required cooking pasta for. We are slowly figuring out our mini kitchen and how it works (and can work), given the tiny work surface space.
Day two, and Keith decides to take a phone shot from bed......
Now this day was mixed weather to say the least. The day before had been lovely and sunny, not really warm but hardly cold. Perfect for walking and bird watching.
And later, doing my drowned rat impersonation. We'd just had a bracing two hour walk along a coastal path in biting wind; on the return journey it decided to drizzle on us, so we got drenched and it was cold and miserable!
Ready to rock and roll again in the afternoon. This time we wanted to revisit Duer, on the Golfe of Morbihan side (i.e. not the open sea side of the peninsula). However parking in a MoHo is not always easy and there are many car parks with barriers to keep the likes of us away from wild parking (particularly on the beach). But we found a space, although we had to walk a lot further to get to where we wanted to visit.
Brent Geese (Branta bernicla) - not sure if we've seen these before or not but if so it was a long time ago. The photo on the right was taken from the motorhome window!
This photo was taken through the plastic of the hide window at Duer marshes showing how springlike it was looking back then, way ahead of where we live.
After walking all the way to the forest where we once spotted the Black Woodpeckers which live there (unlucky this time), we ummed and ahhed about going into the hide again on the long walk back to the Moho. Finally making our minds up, we were rewarded by a whole flock of presumably roosting Curlews (Numenius arquata), with more arriving which gave us the opportunity to see them with their great long bills out from under their wings! A lovely sight.
Mary MoHo in the distance.
On the walk back we passed this ancient lavoir (public wash house). Inside the little house was water full of what looked like duck weed and those are stone troughs for doing your laundry in. I'll stick to my electric washing machine and thank goodness that I live in the century that I do. :-)
More to come in Part 2....... (and I promise it won't be a two week wait before I post it!)