Friday, 14 June 2013


Honestly, all I want to do is share some of my pictures, so I will have less to say than usual but I do have to tell you right off the bat the sad news that Mother and Father Dove did not achieve their aim of producing a nest of dovelettes... When I arrived home from Nantes one of the first things I did was to check, with the aid of binoculars, whether there was still a dove sitting on the next in the cedar hedge across from my bedroom window. Yes!  and the next day looked again, quite expecting to see little dovies... but no. Not even Momma.. GONE. A close look at the situation leads me to believe that one of the feral cats who roam around here closed in on the nest, and did the babies in... either in egg stage or.... I found a couple of adult feathers in the hedge the next day, which would suggest some kind of battle took place and the bird-side lost. I've hated these damn cats for a long time, but now, should one stray into my path in the next while, there'll be a rock thrown in its direction for sure.  I don't mind so much that they keep down the mice and rats but killing birds? Not acceptable.

As you know, I love the birds here, even the noisy Nightingales who keep me awake half the night. I am very fond of the Hoopoes who generally arrive from Africa sometime in the early spring -- this year, I saw the first one in May, a little later than usual. A pair has nested close by this season, and one of the offspring has a decidedly curious nature, checking out Mas Blanc in various ways -- windows, and here, on the terrace table.

There's something inherently hilarious about Hoopoes, especially young ones.
Lest you think I am totally fixated on creatures with wings, let me assure you that I have broader tastes in wildlife than that. Here's a shot of one of my VERY favorite animals, and this one too is a baby... would fit on my palm if I had tried to pick him/her up but it would have been a ticky bit too prickly...

Indeed, this is a  sweet little hedgehog... the French name is HERISSON...
So from fauna to flora, here are a couple of recent photos of some of the marvellous flowers that show themselves this time of year in the Cevennes. Pretty well finished now that the warm weather has come, the wild orchids are a brilliant addition to the fields an roadsides, such delicate beauty and colour...

Orchids, of whatever variety, need to be seen individually
But by this time of year, there's another flower that is lovely in itself, even lovelier in small groupings of three or four or nine... but best enjoyed, I think,  in "mass profusion"... and every so often you come across a field, like the one below, and you can do nothing but jump out of the car with your camera and sing "hallelujah!"

Isn't this where Dorothy fell asleep in THE WIZARD OF OZ?
 And just to end this stroll through nature's wonders here in the south of France, a shot or two from the recent visit to Florac, about 75k north of where I live, up in the hills of the Cevennes. Leaving flora behind, here's a little fauna... well, a horse, in fact. White horses are indigenous to the southerly part of Languedoc, their initial home being down on the wetlands of the Camargue along the Mediterranean. They are popular throughout the region now, and I thought this one particularly pretty.

If you've read my story "Sitsy" in the collection YOU NEVER KNOW,  you will know that
 this is indeed a Sitsy and if named so, will bring good luck.

And now a turn back to flora, to end this posting with a burst of colour, the brilliant yellow of genet (also known as broom) that covers the rocky hillsides here this time of year,  evident on the hillside in the photo of this Sitsy, as well as all along the roadside. It is a thorny plant and not to be taken home for bouquets, simply enjoyed as a visual treat when driving through the Mediterranean region.

Glorious to look at... and with a lovely perfume as well.