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  • Martyn Williams

Rafa's walks

Well where has all the time disappeared to? I had just returned from Crete and blinked, eh voila it is now mid July, I think we've been in some sort of time machine!!

Crete was a wonderful place and such variety in different habitats and landscapes, although not too numerous in birds there were some fantastic species. On the high plateaus we saw numerous raptors, Griffon vultures, Peregrine falcons and Golden eagles saw a lovely interaction between 2 Ravens flying under 2 Griffon vultures and then being mobbed by a dozen Alpine choughs, wonderful! The people were lovely, climate was great, flower meadows everywhere and deep hot gorges to explore, all in all a successful recce for a trip in September with my geologist colleague.

Back to home and what a strange climate from lots of rain followed by extremely hot and humid weather. It has certainly effected the local flora and fauna. We seem to have more Swifts than Swallows and House martins this year, hardly any frogs to be seen, only rescued 30 Fire salamanders from our fountains at the local chapelle this year, normally it numbers in the 100's, however there were 2 dragonfly larvae in amongst them which could easily account for numbers being low being voracious predators. Butterflies have finally picked up in numbers in the last week or so and was delighted to see many Marbled whites, Gatekeepers, Purple hairstreaks, the large Silver washed fritillaries are flitting through the mottled shade of woodland rides. Perhaps the best so far is a Purple emperor landing at my feet on the patio stayed for half an hour but not on the same spot for more than a few seconds hopeless to get a photo.

Also in abundance are many dragonflies I walked along the river this morning and saw at least 10 species, Beautiful demoiselles, Banded demoiselles, Small pincertails, Western clubtails, various Chasers and Darters and all intent on eating as many midges and mosquitoes as they could. We are very lucky to live in and enjoy surroundings that are full of wildlife and biodiversity I was out for nearly 2 hours and didn't see a soul and only had the birdsong and chirping crickets, buzzing insects and slight breeze rustling the leaves to distract me from my own flitting about binoculars in hand chasing anything that moved.

I will leave you with a date to put in your diaries, Monday 5th August I am doing another Bat tour in English for the Maison de la Chauve souris in Kernasceleden. Normal meeting at the Bat museum at 8.00 pm. Further details will be sent via email very soon, enjoy this lovely summer whilst it lasts and make the most of the amazing environment we are priviliged to live in.

Purple emperor ( Apatura iris )

Broad Scarlet ( Crocothemis erythraea )

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