A Southern Pause

We are due at Fanjeaux on Friday 1st June so we’ve been thinking about just how we’re going to get there. It’s possible in one hit but it would be a very long day, probably over nine hours driving. Additionally, it would be a tiring 100mls/160kms cross-country before we got to the autoroute south. So, since the forecast is for the brilliant weather we’ve been enjoying at Luché-Pringé to break up, we decided to head south in two stages and hit Fanjeaux a day early, pausing overnight near the autoroute after the cross-country section. I confess to a vested interest in that our pause would place us in the Parc Naturel Régional de la Brenne, an excellent wildlife habitat filled with lakes of various sizes including the Étang de Bellebouche, where there is a very pleasant campsite, so we wouldn’t have to go searching for where to stay, either. 🙂

Good decision. Much as I quite enjoying towing, after a morning of winding through relatively minor roads dotted with villages and speed limits, I was beginning to feel like a rest. Fortunately we arrived at Bellebouche at about 12:10 PM, just before the accueil [reception] closed at 12:30 PM for lunch. We pitched up and settled down to lunch ourselves before heading off to search a couple of small fishing lakes on site to see what we could find.

Southern_Emerald_1 Quite soon into our wander, somebody settled in the tall grass beside me. In my haste I fluffed my first attempt at a shot but got a second before it disappeared, never to be seen again. I realized it was an Emerald (Lestes) of one sort or another but it didn’t look quite like those I’ve seen before. I’ll have to get my suspicions confirmed but I’m pretty sure this character is a female Southern Emerald Damselfly (Lestes barbarus), a new Odo for our catalogue.

The weather forecast proved to be accurate; what started out as a walk in the sun became a walk under threatening clouds. Francine certainly thought her washing was under threat and returned to rescue it, just in case, leaving me to continue unaccompanied.

White-tailed_female1 Some female dragonflies seem to me to prove elusive. Whereas males tend to defend their claim to a territory and be relatively easy to find, the females of the species seem to hide elsewhere until they are ready to mate (or, as Francine would have it, until they fancy a shag). One species like this is the Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva), of which I’ve seen countless males but as yet not a single female. Another of my female bêtes noires has been the White-tailed Skimmer. As the sky continued to darken I very nearly didn’t bother searching the far end of the second small lake but I’m delighted I persevered. On my way back there she was, low down in some grass stems beside the lake, my first female White-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum albistylum). Isn’t she lovely?

The rain began.

Posted in 2012 Spring

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