What on earth is this …

Posted by on Apr 30, 2017

One of the wonderful things for ourselves and our Normandy Gite visitors is all this wonderful countryside surrounding us and the amazing range of great and small wildlife it supports and that frequently comes our way.

Last week Cathy was doing her favourite job of ‘Poo Picking’ in the pony paddock and nearly stumbled over a fledgling Tawny Owl almost ready to fly and minding its own business in a clump of gorse. We could hear the angry cries of it’s mum and dad from the nearby trees so we left the youngster alone for its parents to feed it and the following day it had gone and presumably had taken its first flight out of here!

A couple of weeks ago at dusk, Cathy was back in the UK and I was sitting with Boo gazing out of the patio doors across the valley trying to find the meaning of life when I couldn’t believe eyes when a massive hare ambled across the patio and hopped up the two steps to the patio door and just stared in at us before wandering off a couple of minutes later without so much as a ‘by your leave’

Now that the Normandy hunting seasons is well and truly over deer, badgers and red squirrels are becoming more common plus the coypus (a beaver sized rodent) in the streams and lakes around here. The birdlife is something else too as we seem to be in the flight path of every migratory bird heading for the sun and can even look down on the kestrels and buzzards in the valley below.

There’s lots of digging to be done at the moment in the gardens and planting various crops for us and our Normandy gite visitors to enjoy and this year with the dry weather I’ve been digging up lots of these chaps that look something like a witchity grub. After lots of Googling, I discovered that they are the lavae of the magnificent stag beetle an increasingly rare and beautiful beetle the male of which sports amazing stag like antlers. Click on this link for more info …

http://www.stagbeetles.co.uk/stagbeetlelarvae.htm

It seems they spend several years as eggs/lavae buried in the dark underground and eating rotten wood/vegetation and finally pupate before hatching out as adults. The male then flies around frantically  for a few weeks, finds a mate, ‘does the do’ and then pegs out – It’s a tough life being a male stag beetle!! I’ll leave you with that thought …

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