A Shut and Open Case

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had a bit of early morning excitement when Francine spotted a magnificent Stag Beetle that appeared to be warming itself up in a patch of sun just outside Frodo. We were a bit worried about forgetting quite where he was and stepping on him; all was well, though.

There is a small nature park, favoured mainly by the birding community, about 11 kms from Rosnay. It has been good for odonata, too. Francine fancied cycling there and back largely to give our new e-bikes more of a stretch so we could become more familiar with them.

Happily, for some reason best known to her, Francine checked the Maison de la Nature on the good ol’ internet and discovered that it was closed on Tuesdays. At least that saved us a wasted 22km round trip.

Plan B.

About 5 kms in the other direction is the Maison du Parc, a similar celebration of La Brenne nature with a pond suitable for dragonflies. I not sure this one is quite so appealing to the birders but we saved that for the afternoon.

20240604_111130For the remainder of the morning we headed south of Rosnay to check on a field that we been to on a previous trip, Les Communaux de Rosnay. It’s a flowery meadow with orchids that lies at the end of a hedge-lined track which had also been home to a few odonata. We pushed our bikes up the track only to find the way blocked by strands of wire, not to mention unappealing looking mud from the recent rains.

Field FleuriTongue OrchidThere wasn’t any suitable structure to secure our bikes to so I remained outside on the track while Francine managed her way round the fence and mud into the area so she could check on any orchids. What she found was a lot of Tongue Orchids (Serapias lingua), which are quite abundant on the Rosnay campsite, where they carefully mow around them so as to protect them. Impressive.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInsect life along the track wasn’t scintillating until we were pushing our bikes back to the road. As we did so a larger dragonfly flew in and began settling on the sunlit hedge. After disturbing it once or twice I finally managed to sneak up close enough to it. To lighten the load in my rucksack when cycling, I’m trying the smaller Olympus camera with the 40-150 lens mounted on a 2x extender. A doubler is inherently less sharp but the combination can be easier to deal with. My friend was an immature male Blue-eyed Hawker (Aeshna affinis) which was a good one to add to the collection.

In the afternoon we jumped on the bikes again and set off for the Maison du Parc. As we approached I saw builders’ fencing and I feared this might also be closed. My fears proved unfounded, though; the fencing was associated with an adjacent property rather then the Maison du Parc. We secured our bikes and went down to the pond edge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was more or less completely covered in duck weed, which isn’t the best but there were a number of dragonflies zooming about and occasionally tussling. At first they looked like Black-tailed Skimmers but, when I caught one in my viewfinder, it was actually the very similar White-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum albistylum) which is much more interesting, not being a British species. Once you get your eye in, they do look noticeably different.

Posted in 2024 Summer