TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
15 - 20 May 2004
Saturday 15th May
South West trains lived up to their reputation and a train which left Bournemouth just nine minutes late had managed to turn into 50 minutes late by the time it eventually got the leader to Waterloo - and this was just in time for Eurostar registration! The clients, of course, were all waiting for Mike. As we headed for the train, a bird seemed to be singing us all the way along the platform. 'Nice of it to accompany us' you might think until you realise that the rather squeaky call was in fact a noisy wheel on Ray's suitcase.
The overall journey to Paris took less time than it had taken Mike to get from Bournemouth to Waterloo. It was highly efficient and the 'on board' service was excellent. On the French side of the Channel, we were travelling so fast that few birds were seen; Kestrel and Woodpigeon were about all we could be certain of.
Once vehicle hire had been completed, finding the minibus was the first problem; the second was getting out of Paris! We all have Martin to thank for being such a good map reader. We found the inner périferique and were then on our way. After a pause for coffee we headed on south and saw few birds despite the journey taking a bit longer than expected. Four and a half hours after leaving Gare de l'Est, we arrived at our destination near le Blanc and after a brief time to freshen up we were soon enjoying our evening meal.
Sunday 16th May
As we gathered for our pre breakfast walk, a calling Hoopoe encouraged exploration along the entrance drive. A Common Cuckoo called frequently and there were many Blackcaps singing from the trees as we went. Turtle Dove, Common Nightingale and Short-toed Treecreeper were also heard but remained unseen. At the furthest point of our walk a Melodious Warbler was typical of the species as it sang from a prominent hedgerow perch and a Golden Oriole had Mike whistling to try to secure views of this elusive bird.
After breakfast we went in to le Blanc to purchase our picnic things and then we paused at the old railway yard to check for birds. A couple of male Cirl Buntings and a Serin were the first finds and during a brief walk we added another Nightingale as well as securing good views of a few Linnets and Melodious Warblers.
At the Étang de l'Hardouine, a Great Reed Warbler sang briefly when we arrived but unfortunately it soon stopped or moved and we did not see it. Cetti's and Reed Warblers were also noted as was Nightingale and Blackcap. Out on the lake there were many duck species including Pochard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Mallard as well as a few Great Crested Grebes and Whiskered Terns. Another Golden Oriole began singing nearby but again did not appear to want to receive the admiring gazes of the assembled group. A short way along the road we paused to watch some Cattle Egrets and were promptly 'found' by local expert, Tony Williams. After a quick exchange of information he sped off home for his lunch while we headed for the restaurant at la Gabrière for our morning coffee. Yes, we were running a little behind schedule!! From our tables we saw a couple of Cormorants perched on some construction in the lake, a Black Kite flew past at fairly close range and a pair of Short-toed Eagles circled in the distance and provided some identification problems.
We made one more stop before lunch and this was at a new, unnamed étang. Here there was much to see and enjoy. Waders included Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Lapwing and a nesting pair of Little Ringed Plovers but best of all were the Black-winged Stilt and a Knot that was beginning to moult in to its fine, red summer plumage. Common Whitethroats sang from the scrub while dozens of Whiskered Terns flew between the new étang to the Étang de Bernadoux. Many were collecting nesting material and bringing it to the new étang where, quite typically, they were building nest platforms close to nesting Black-headed Gulls. There were also many pairs of Black-necked Grebes to add to the mayhem that seemed to prevail here. The grebes were delightful and we got some of our best views from the minibus as we drove off for a rather late lunch.
Lunch was taken at a roadside on the edge of the Forêt de Lancosme where we added Lady, Monkey and Early Spider Orchids to the flower list. There were a number of butterflies present and passing and these included Orange Tip, Yellow Brimstone, Wood White, Green Hairstreak, Camberwell Beauty as well as Scarce and Common Swallowtail. Tree Pipits and Chiffchaffs sang nearby.
As we drove back towards the Brenne lakes, we heard and managed to catch a few glimpses of a Bonelli's Warbler and a little further along a large raptor flew past at very close range and this was a Short-toed Eagle. At a small, un-named étang there was another group of Whiskered Terns and with them were 3 or 4 Black Terns.
Another prolonged look at the new étang had us admiring many more Black-necked Grebes than before with some at fairly close range. The leggy, yet elegant Black-winged Stilts seemed to have increased in number though really the different angle we now viewed the lake from was giving us better views of their preferred feeding areas. Everything else from our morning viewing of this lake also seemed to be present and so we began the drive back towards le Blanc and our hotel.
Monday 17th May
What a start to the day, a Golden Oriole singing in the trees close to the hotel. Along the track a pair of Spotted Flycatchers seemed to be setting up a territory while a little further along Cirl Bunting, Serin and Turtle Doves were all singing well while many Barn Swallows were circling the old farm buildings. A singing Woodlark caused a little confusion as it sang from the top of an oak tree; they usually sing in flight. A Brown Hare lolloped off from one of the fields and other sightings included Common Whitethroat, Linnets, Mistle Thrush, Common Buzzard and Garden Warbler but by now, breakfast was calling louder than the Nightingale we passed, as we headed back.
After breakfast we headed for Azay-le-Ferron and some of the surrounding farmland. Here we managed to see males of Hen and Montagu's Harriers that were no doubt hunting the numerous Skylarks of the area. The best birds we found were 3 Stone Curlews that could be seen in an open, ploughed field. These birds mostly just sat there doing nothing but one actually caused some excitement when it stood up, turned around .......... and sat down again! Eventually, one of the birds got fed up with being watched so it flew some distance and landed out of sight in 'dead ground'.
Following this, coffee called and after a brief stop in Azay to see our first Black Redstart, we drove in to the 'centre ville' and during our break at a cafe, another Black Redstart sang almost constantly from the surrounding buildings! The church square also held many flying Swifts, Swallows and House Martins. We left Azay-le-Ferron and saw a pair of Red-backed Shrikes along a local hedgerow. Driving onwards we saw little until we reached our lunch spot near la Cherine reserve.
Needless to say, the watching did not stop during lunch and we saw a good number of things here. There were at least 5 Black-winged Stilts, 2 Redshanks and an uncounted quantity of Lapwings on the shallow lagoon one side of us while over the reed bed opposite flew many Grey and Purple Herons, a Marsh Harrier and a Black-crowned Night-Heron. Passing butterflies included Camberwell Beauty and Orange Tip.
Afterwards at the Cherine reserve hide nearby, we again saw numerous Grey and Purple Herons but the best member of this family was the Great White Egret that stalked along the edge of a reed bed. Other sightings here included Reed Warbler, another Marsh Harrier (this time a female) and a Coypu.
A short drive took us to the 'back edge' of the reserve and a walk along a straight track proved of most interest when we reached the hide overlooking one of a couple of étangs specially created for wildlife. Many of the nesting Black-headed Gulls now had young and nearby were many pairs of Black-necked Grebes and Whiskered Terns. There were a couple of Black Terns present though they seemed not to be breeding. There were also plenty of Coots present and many pairs had small young.
We returned to our hotel via la Gabrière and just before we reached le Blanc, a male Montagu's Harrier flew close to the road. Later at the hotel, Tony Williams joined us for a drink before dinner and he was happy to answer various questions from members of the group; he also provided some useful information for our remaining days in the area.
Tuesday 18th May
Before breakfast we drove to near the étang and saw a good number of birds including Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Woodlark, Melodious Warbler, Grey Herons and Mute Swans.
Later, we drove east to Ruffec where we paused for a walk to view the river. A Common Sandpiper walked along the dam a short distance up river and this was joined by a couple of Grey Wagtails. In nearby trees a Serin sang its twittering song and a couple of Mallards drifted off when some canoes were launched about 100 metres away. Two mammal species were then seen; one individual was definitely a Muskrat with its vertically flattened tail but the identity of the other two remains a mystery. They might have been Beavers but the possibility is that they could equally have been Coypu. The latter is the more likely species ........ but something did not ring quite true! Was that a horizontally flattened tail or just a trick of the light?
We moved on to St. Gaultier where we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a Common Redstart sang from a coniferous tree in a nearby back garden. From there we drove to close to Rosnay for a short walk to a scrubby area. There were plenty of Early Purple Orchids and masses of Tongue Orchids blooming in the area while the birds included a pair of Red-backed Shrikes plus Corn and Cirl Buntings. The most frustrating species here though was a Common Quail that called almost incessantly from a patch of short grassland. Despite numerous attempts to see it, typical of the species it was never seen.
We drove to the Forêt de Lancosme and went to the Chapelle St. Sulpice where we had our picnic lunch in a lovely clearing. As we ate, another group of birders took a strong interest in a particular oak tree and seemed to ignore the Common Buzzard and Black Kite that flew past. As they left in their various vehicles (the other birders, not the raptors!) we completed our lunch and wandered over to where they had been standing. On the way across the clearing we added Burnt Tip and Loose-flowered Orchids to the day's flower list. The oak that seemed to be holding everyone's interest contained two birds' nests. The upper nest was of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers which were feeding young, and slightly lower down the tree, a pair of Short-toed Treecreepers were building a nest. By the spring, the water of which is reputed to have healing powers, numerous frogs jumped into the crystal clear water. A few of our group had a look inside the tiny church before we set off for a short walk in the forest. Here we added Wood and Bonelli's Warblers before heading off in search of more things.
On a small, partly dry pond there were 4 species of wader to be seen. Most easily recognised were the Northern Lapwings but 6 Little Ringed Plovers, 8 Greenshanks and 4 or 5 Common Sandpipers proved of greater interest. Along a general route back towards our hotel, another pause had us searching for herons at a small heronry. Greys and Purples were present in small numbers as were some Cattle Egrets. Unfortunately, we could not find any of the hoped-for Black-crowned Night-Herons.
We returned to the hotel by about 5.30 and during our evening meal we heard the unmistakable call of a Green Woodpecker. By the time we finished our fine food, it was dark but as we made our way towards our rooms in the annex, a Tawny Owl was clearly visible in the hotel lights. This proved to be a fine end to another good day.
Wednesday 19th May
The day began with the usual pre breakfast walk during which we saw many of the birds we had quickly become used to. Woodlark, Turtle Dove, Cuckoo and Nightingale were all on the list at an early stage while down at the Étang we found Lapwing, Mute Swan and Great Crested Grebe. To complete our walk we saw a baby Blackbird, a pair of Red-backed Shrikes and a Yellowhammer in the scrubby areas.
Later as we left Le Blanc, a Honey Buzzard circled for some time over a wooded hillside before drifting away. Everyone had good views of this particular raptor. Soon we arrived at Neons-sur-Creuse for a riverside walk that immediately produced distant views of our main 'target' species, European Bee-eater but before we set off to obtain closer views, a singing Golden Oriole in the nearby poplars gave us a glimpse of this elusive species. After a while we gave up hope for any better views and headed for the more obliging Bee-eaters. These birds performed splendidly throughout our stay and we also found a Kingfishers nest and had fairly good views of this species too.
Coffee in the village itself had us looking at the local Black Redstart before we headed for Martizay where we had another unsuccessful search for Little Bustard. However, bonus birds came in the shape of Harriers; a pair of Montagu's and a female Hen Harrier at least. As we left the area and headed towards la Brenne's lakes, we happened to find a lovely Hoopoe wandering about near someone's driveway. This was viewed from the minibus to avoid disturbing it.
During lunch at Beauregard, a Bonelli's Warbler sang almost constantly but it proved very elusive, as did a local Chiffchaff. After our repast, we went for a walk to the local étang. A pair of Red-backed Shrikes were in a scrubby field and there were numerous warblers in song including Melodious, Reed, Sedge and a probable Dartford Warbler. A Booted Eagle circled in the distance, a pair of Bullfinches flew out of one bush and promptly disappeared into another one while out on the water were a few ducks including Tufted, Gadwall, Pochard and a Ferruginous. Notable flowers here were Tongue and Loose-flowered Orchids.
To complete our outings for the day, we drove to le Blizon and strolled along the pathway to the Étang Masse where there were numerous Grey Herons, a few Cattle and Little Egrets and a couple of Black-crowned Night-Herons.
Thursday 20th May
There was no pre breakfast walk to allow time for packing. After breakfast we paid our room bills and by 09.10 we were leaving the Domaine de l'Étape and heading towards Ruffec. A short way along the road we saw a couple of Common Buzzards and a Red-legged Partridge walking along a roadside wall.
Soon we reached the A20 and were heading north and were pleased that there seemed to be more traffic heading in the opposite direction. The very hot weather seemed to be even keeping the raptors quiet and little was seen for many miles.
We turned off the main route on the north side of Vierzon and headed for the Sologne region in the hope of finding Little Bustards but unfortunately none were seen. We did see a few Eurasian Curlews in the area and at first these caused some confusion. Also in the 'Bustard(less) area' we found a couple of Whinchats, a few Corn Buntings and 3 or 4 more Red-legged Partridges. Just as we were approaching the village of La Chapelle-Montmartin on our departure, a Hoopoe flew across the road and was seen by most, if not all of the group.
We paused for lunch about 130 km. from Paris and there were many Chaffinches, a couple of Eurasian Nuthatches and a Bonelli's (warbler not eagle!) to be seen. We left the Aire du Bois du Telegraph at 1.45 and almost immediately saw a Honey Buzzard circling beside the road.
Thanks again to Martin's excellent map reading we reached the Gare du Nord at the hoped-for time of 3.30p.m. and after bidding farewell to Helen, who was staying on for a couple of extra days in Paris, we checked in for our 17.10 Eurostar departure.
Soon we were speeding north towards the Channel tunnel and after a brief spell of 'no views' we emerged on the English side and were heading for Waterloo and departed towards our respective homes.
Little Grebe Seen on 17th at the 'back' of the Cherine reserve and also seen on 19th
Great Crested Grebe Commonly seen on the 4 full days in la Brenne
Black-necked Grebe Plenty at the new étang close to the Étang de Bernadoux on 16th and then seen the following day at the Cherine reserve.
Great Cormorant Seen in small numbers every full day in la Brenne
Grey Heron Commonly seen every day from 16th
Purple Heron Seen in small numbers each full day in la Brenne
Cattle Egret Seen on 4 consecutive days in la Brenne including at a breeding colony close to Migné
Great White Egret Just a single bird at the Cherine reserve on17th
Little Egret Seen on 16th, 17th and 19th in small numbers
Black-crowned Night-Heron One during lunch on 17th was sadly not seen by everyone but then we saw two at the Étang Masse on 19th
Mute Swan Much more numerous than in previous years with fair to good numbers seen on each of the 4 full days in la Brenne
Canada Goose Just 4 seen on 16th at the Étang de l'Hardouine
Gadwall Seen on 16th 18th and 19th in small numbers at various étangs.
Mallard Seen every day from 16th.
Northern Shoveler Just seen on 16th on the new étang and on 17th on the Cherine reserve
Common Pochard Seen on 16th and 17th at the same places as the previous species and then on 19th at the Grande Étangs near Beauregard
Tufted Duck Seen on the same days as the previous species but with more sightings than for Pochard
Ferruginous Duck Just a single bird seen on les Grandes Étangs on 19th
Red-crested Pochard Two males and a female were on the Étang de Gabriau on 16th
European Honey Buzzard Single birds seen on 16th, 19th and during the northward journey on 20th. The best views were on 19th just to the west of Le Blanc
Black Kite At least 7 were seen in various parts of la Brenne on 16th but on 17th we saw just one, 2 on 18th and a small number were seen on 19th
Short-toed Eagle During coffee at la Gabriére on 16th we saw two distant birds but then in the afternoon we had brilliant views of a bird which passed very close to us
Hen Harrier A pair was seen on 17th not far from Azay-le-Ferron and a female was near Martizay two days later
Montagu's Harrier A fine male was close to Azay on 17th and there was a pair close to Martizay on 19th
Eurasian Marsh Harrier We saw male during lunch and a female from the Cherine hide on 17th and then on 19th, a single bird was seen near Beauregard
Common Buzzard Common, seen every day from 16th
Booted Eagle Just a single sighting near Beauregard on 19th
Eurasian Kestrel Seen every day in small numbers
Eurasian Hobby Just a single bird seen well on 19th at Neons-sur-Creuse
Red-legged Partridge Singles seen on 16th, 19th and 20th and a pair was seen near Azay on 17th
Common Quail Just a single bird heard calling at fairly close range on 18th near Rosnay
Common Pheasant Noted on 4 days from 16th
Common Moorhen Seen every day except 15th
Eurasian Coot Seen every day from 16th
Black-winged Stilt At least 10 seen at the new Étang on 16th and there were 5 the following day at the Étang across the D17 road from La Cherine
Stone Curlew 3 well seen in a single field near Azay-le-Ferron on 17th
Northern Lapwing Seen every day from 16th
Little Ringed Plover 2 seen at the new étang on 16th included one on a nest and then on 18th there were at least 6 on a shallow pool beside the D21
Eurasian Curlew 5 were seen during the northward journey on 20th
Common Redshank There was a single bird at the new étang on 16th and the following day there were 2 near the Cherine reserve
Common Greenshank 8 together in a small pool beside the D21 on 18th was something of a surprise
Common Sandpiper There was a single bird at the new étang on 16th and on 18th there was 1 at the river in Ruffec early in the day and later there were 5 or 6 at the same pool as the previous species. This species was also seen on 19th
Knot A single bird in partial summer plumage was at the new étang on 16th
Dunlin Just one on 17th on the Cherine reserve
Black-headed Gull Seen commonly every day except 15th when the species was not recorded
Whiskered Tern Seen on 4 consecutive days from 16th in widely spaced locations around the la Brenne lakes
Black Tern On 16th there were 3 seen near the Étang des Baudets and the following day there were at least 4 on the Cherine Reserve
Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Seen every day except 18th
Wood Pigeon Seen every day
European Turtle Dove Noted every day except 15th
Eurasian Collared Dove Seen every day
Common Cuckoo Seen or heard every day except 15th
Tawny Owl Heard most evenings at the hotel and on 16th one bird was glimpsed as it flew past our accommodation and on 18th one was well seen as we walked from the main hotel back to our rooms. The pair obviously had young in the area.
Common Swift As its name suggests, common. Seen every day
Common Kingfisher Seen at Neons-sur-Creuse on 19th where a pair was nesting not far from the Bee-eater colony
European Bee-eater A good number of pairs were breeding at Neons-sur-Creuse and we saw them on 19th
Eurasian Hoopoe 2 heard during the pre breakfast walk on 16th but we did not manage to see them and we did not hear the species near the hotel again. Fortunately, we did see one near Azay-le-Ferron on 19th and the following day we did glimpse another as we journeyed north towards Paris.
Middle Spotted Woodpecker A nesting pair was found close to the Chapelle St Sulpice in the Forêt de Lancosme on 18th
Green Woodpecker Heard during dinner at the hotel on 18th and seen there on 19th then heard during a stop on the journey towards Paris on 20th
Wood Lark Seen on 17th and 18th during the pre breakfast walk and also heard at the same place on 19th
Eurasian Sky Lark Seen every day except 15th
European Sand Martin Seen at a colony site near Ruffec on 18th
Barn Swallow Seen every day
Common House Martin Seen every day
Grey Wagtail Two seen by the River Creuse at Ruffec on 18th
White Wagtail Seen every day except 15th
Tree Pipit First seen during lunch in the Forêt de Lancosme on 16th and then during the pre breakfast walk at the hotel on 18th
Red-backed Shrike Just a single male on 16th seemed to suggest lower-than-usual numbers but on the next three days we saw plenty of individuals in widely scattered locations
Winter Wren Seen or heard on 4 days from 16th often at the hotel in the morning
Dunnock Just seen on 16th and 19th close to the hotel
Common Blackbird Seen every day from 16th
Song Thrush Seen every day from 16th
Mistle Thrush Seen on 17th and 18th during the pre breakfast walks
European Robin Noted on 4 consecutive days from 16th mostly near the hotel
Common Nightingale Heard every day from 16th in a variety of locations though we only caught occasional glimpses of this elusive species
Black Redstart 3 on 17th at Azay-le-Ferron and also noted on19th at Neons-sur-Creuse
Common Redstart Just a single singing male in St-Gaultier on 18th
Whinchat At least 3 seen during a pause in the northward journey on 20th
Common Stonechat Seen every day except 15th mostly beside the roads as we drove from one location to another
Cetti's Warbler Heard on 16th, 17th and 19th in various locations around la Brenne but, like Nightingale, it is a species we only glimpsed
Sedge Warbler Heard on 16th near the Étang de l'Hardouine and on the walk at Beauregard on 19th
Eurasian Reed Warbler First heard at the Étang de l'Hardouine on 16th then seen the following day from the Cherine hide and finally on 19th at les Grandes Étangs
Great Reed Warbler Just heard briefly at the Étang de l'Hardouine on 16th
Melodious Warbler Noted on 4 consecutive days from 16th including during the 4 pre breakfast walks at the hotel
Eurasian Chiffchaff Noted every day except 15th
Bonelli's Warbler Rather elusive as usual but we did hear or see this species on 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th
Wood Warbler Heard in the Forêt de Lancosme on 18th
Blackcap Seen every day from 16th
Garden Warbler Noted on 4 consecutive days from 16th mostly during the pre breakfast walks at the hotel
Common Whitethroat Common, noted every day from 16th
Dartford Warbler A bird possibly of this species was heard close to Les Grandes Étangs on 19th
Spotted Flycatcher 2 seen at the hotel on 17th but then not seen there again
Long-tailed Tit Fist seen during the pre-breakfast walk on 16th and then noted again on 18th and 19th
Great Tit Noted on 4 consecutive days from 16th in various locations including close to the hotel
Blue Tit Common, seen on 5 days from 16th
Eurasian Nuthatch Seen along the hotel driveway before breakfast on 16th and also noted during the northward journey on 20th
Short-toed Treecreeper Noted on 4 consecutive days from 16th. This included finding a pair nest building close to the Chapelle St Sulpice on 18th
Eurasian Jay Seen on 4 days
Black-billed Magpie Seen every day
Eurasian Jackdaw Seen every day
Rook Seen every day except 17th
Carrion Crow Seen every day
European Golden Oriole Heard on the mornings of 16th, 17th and 19th close to the hotel and on 19th it was there again but a different bird at Neons-sur-Creuse gave us a brief view as it flew from one group of trees to another
Common Starling Seen every day
Yellowhammer Heard on 18th and then seen on 19th close to the hotel
Cirl Bunting Two males seen at le Blanc railway yard on 16th and then seen or heard in various places for the next couple of days
Corn Bunting Seen on 5 days from 16th
European Chaffinch Seen on 5 days from 16th
European Serin Noted on 16th, 17th & 18th in various places including at the hotel and in le Blanc
European Greenfinch Noted on 5 days from 16th
European Goldfinch Noted on 5 days from 16th
Eurasian Linnet Noted on 5 days from 16th
Eurasian Bullfinch 2 seen briefly during our walk from Beauregard on 19th
House Sparrow Seen every day except 15th
Western Hedgehog One or two of the sub-species horizontalis seen on the Brenne roads; it is just a shame we saw no live ones!
Wild Boar Signs seen on 16th, 17th and 18th in various locations
Muskrat A single animal was seen in the River Creuse at Ruffec on 18th
Coypu 1 on 16th in one of the many étangs we passed, at least 2 on 17th at Cherine and 1 on 19th close to Beauregard
(European Beaver 2 animals seen on the River Creuse at Ruffec seemed to be of this species but if they were, they were out at a very unusual time of day. Even though they were rather distant, it is thought that at least one of them had a flattened tail suggesting that either it/they were beavers or that they were two coypus that had been walking away from the Hedgehogs mentioned above!)
Brown Hare 4 or 5 sightings spread over 3 days from 17th in the Brenne fields
Rabbit Noted on 3 days
Roe Deer Just a female seen on 19th
Natterjack Toad Fairly numerous around the hotel.
Marsh Frog Noted on 3 days
Edible Frog Noted on 16th and 17th
Common Wall Lizard Noted on at least 3 days
Green Lizard Just a single sighting close to Rosnay on 18th
Duke of Burgundy Fritillary
DRAGONFLIES & DAMSELFLIES
Ajuga reptans Bugle
Alliania petiolata Garlic Mustard
Anacamptis morio Green-winged Orchid
Arum maculatum Cuckoo-pint
Asphodelus alba White Asphodel
Bryonia dioica White Bryony
Campanula rapunculus Rampion Bellflower
Cerastium glomeratum Sticky Mousear
Cirsium dissectum Meadow Thistle
Cornus sanguinea Dogwood
Dactylorhiza incarnata Early Marsh Orchid
Dianthus carthusianorum Carthusian Pink
Dipsacus fullonum Teasel
Epilobium hirsutum Great Willowherb (not in flower)
Erodium cicutarium Common Storksbill
Eryngium campestre Field Eryngo
Euphorbia cyparissias Cypress Spurge
Euphorbia helioscopa Sun Spurge
Euphorbia lathyrus Caper Spurge
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet
Fragaria vesca Wild Strawberry
Galium aparine Cleavers
Galium cruciata Crosswort
Galium odoratum Woodruff
Genista anglica Needle Whin
Geranium dissectum Cut-leaved Cranesbill
Geranium robertianum Herb Robert
Geranium urbanum Herb Bennet
Geranium rotundifolium Round-leaved Cranesbill
Gromwell Field & Purple (not identified)
Iris pseudacorus Yellow Iris)
Lamium album White Deadnettle
Lathrea squamaria Toothwort
Linium bienne Pale Flax
Lonicera periclymenum Honeysuckle
Lychnis flos-cuculi Ragged Robin
Medicago arabica Spotted Medic
Muscari comosum Tassel Hyacinth
Myosotis arvensis Field Forget-me-not
Neotinea ustulata Burnt-tip Orchid
Ophrys sphegodes Early Spider Orchid
Orchis purpurea Lady Orchid
Orchis laxiflora Loose-flowered Orchid
Orchis simia Monkey Orchid
Papaver rhoeas Common Poppy
Plantago media Hoary Plantain
Platanthera chlorantha Greater Butterfly Orchid
Polygala vulgaris Common Milkwort
Poterium sanguisorba Salad Burnet
Primula veris Cowslip (not checked)
Pulmonaria officinalis Lungwort
Ranunculus acris Meadow Buttercup
Ranunculus flammula Lesser Spearwort
Ranunculus pericillatus Water Crowfoot
Rhinanthus minor Yellow Rattle
Rorippa islandica Marsh Yellowcress
Rosa canina Dog Rose
Rumex acetosella Sheep's Sorrel
Ruscus aculeatus Butcher's Broom
Salvia pratensis Meadow Clary
Saxifraga granulata Meadow Saxifrage
Serapias lingua Tongue Orchid
Silene dioica Red Campion
Silene alba White Campion
Simethis planifolia Kerry Lily
Stellaria holostea Greater Stitchwort
Tamus communis Black Bryony
Trifolium incarnatum Long-headed Clover
Trifolium striatum Knotted Clover
Trifolium subterraneum Subterranean Clover
Tragopogon pratensis Goat's Beard
Verbascum pulverulentum Hoary Mullein
Veronica chamaedrys Germander Speedwell
Veronica officinalis Heath Speedwell
Vicia hirsuta Hairy Tare
Vicia sativa Common Vetch
Vinca minor alba Periwinkle
Viola riviniana Common Dog Violet
Viola tricolor Wild Pansy or Heart's Ease
Viscum album Mistletoe
I would like to thank everyone in the group for making this such an easy tour to lead; you all seemed to enjoy yourselves (and I sincerely hope I was getting the right impression!) and were happy looking at what we were seeing. However, I feel I must single out a couple of people for a special mention. Martin, thank you so much for being such a capable map reader on 15th and 20th. You managed to not only get us out of Paris on the first day but you also successfully guided us back in again safely and you got us there at the hoped-for time. Thank you also to Anne who single-handedly produced the super plant list for us.
We ended up with a grand total of 113 or 114 species of birds recorded (depending on whether or not you include the Dartford Warbler) plus a few mammals, amphibians and reptiles, lots of butterflies and plants. The food and wine at the hotel were enjoyable and there were even a few 'converts' to the number of people who like Roche Baron cheese.
I hope you all had safe and uneventful journeys to your respective homes and I look forward to the possibility of seeing you all again on another Travelling Naturalist tour.