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  • Martyn Williams

Back to winter!

Well what can we say, it feels like our extremely short summer has ended and winter has set in!!

I have been very busy and all over the place but just finding a little gap to send this blog before I'm off again. I have just returned from guiding a tour in Finistere at Le manoir du Hilguy for a holiday property company.

It was very successful and as always helped with a really nice group, we visited Pointe du Raz and highlights were Great views of Red billed chough in pairs and in a group of about 8, lots of Whitethroats and Skylarks, Fulmars and Gannets as well as usual gull species, Yellow hammers and Meadow pipits.

Then a great day to the Mont's d'Arree and nearly our first siting was of a Montagu's harrier taking off a few metres from the minibus, very pleased also, to see very active signs of Beaver at Brennelis, with lots of freshly felled and stripped willow branches and piles on feeding stations . The third day we were treated by flypast of a pair of cuckoos only a few feet from our noses, Marsh harriers nesting alongside one of the Etangs in the bay of Audierne and Hobbies probably taking a dragonflies from a new emergence.

The final day we sailed to the lovely Ile de Sein and saw a great mixture of seabirds, waders and passerines and enjoyed the calm and peaceful ambiance.

However back at home to the rain but before I left for Finistere in that short spell of fairly nice weather I saw many species of butterfly, Swallowtails, Orange tips, Holly blue, Green hairstreak and Brimstones as well as the over wintering species, Red admiral, Small tortoiseshells, Peacocks and Comma. Also one of my favourite butterflies, the Map, it has an unusual difference in its emergence where the early ones ( April/May ) are an Orange colour and the late emergence ( August/Sept ) are of a Red colour. They are named Map because of a map like pattern on their underwings. Perhaps the most satisfying species so far to see was the Large tortoiseshell, which sadly is declining in a lot of its range so always a bonus to get a glimpse of one

Well I must leave you all now as I am packing for the UK and leaving tomorrow and then flying to Crete on Tuesday to carry out a "Recce" with a geologist colleague for a group of 16 which are coming in September. I promise to restart day tours, if of course the weather improves, on my return at the end of May. Take care, don't work too hard and look forward to catching up soon QB et al

Large tortoiseshell ( Nymphalis polychloros )

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