Thursday and Friday have been days spent putzing about in relatively brief intervals between showers/downpours. The most productive of our putzes was a trip down to the étang de Cistude just beyond Mézières-en-Brenne. Here there is a boardwalk and pathways to a couple of hides where you can sit and watch wild birds to your hearts delight. The étang’s name derives from the fact that it plays host to the Cistude d’Europe [European Turtle] and there are road signs warning of turtles as you make your approach.
The étang de Cistude is also the home of the Maison de la Nature [literally, House of Nature]. In the house, as well as the information boards which I can rarely be bothered to read, it also has a respectable collection of nature books for sale. Naturally, these tend to be in French. This is where I was first impressed by a copy of the butterfly guide, Guide des Papillons d’Europe et d’Afrique du Nord (if I’ve remembered the title correctly). The book collection was the main reason for our visit; Francine fancied a rummage.
Naturally, whilst Francine rummaged, I was casting my eye over the titles, too. The books seem less than logically organized but my eyes eventually lighted on a moderately large hardback enticingly entitled, Les Libellules de France, Belgique et Luxembourg [Dragonflies of … etc]. Surprisingly, I knew of this publication. Indeed, it had been recommended to me by a fellow Odo enthusiast. I had tried to locate a copy chez moi but had failed. I thumbed through it to confirm to myself that it was, as suggested, something of a bible on the subject, and, satisfied, tucked it under my arm.
Meanwhile, back at Francine, she was having trouble deciding between two orchid books. One was wrapped so she was unable to inspect it. Decisions, decisions! She eventually settled on the one that she could inspect: Atlas des Répartition des Orchidées de l’Indre [Distribution Atlas of the Orchids in the Indre departement – where we currently are]. A bit specialized it may be but there are 47 species noted and we’re likely to visit here again. Of course, we’ll have to arrive earlier than we did this time ‘cos orchid season has finished.
Orchid season wasn’t all that was finished. Regrettably, the ranger at the desk said the paper in his bank card machine was finished so we had to part with real cash which, luckily, we had. Pockets lighter and arms heavier, we returned to the car to stash our purchases and wait for a shower to pass.
It wasn’t a great day for photography but, after the shower, a Southern Darter did settle just above my eye-level so I was able to get a decent shot. Being yellow, I assumed this to be a female but no, it’s a teneral male. [The observant will be able to make out its secondary genitalia. 😉 ]
As the skies darkened again and just before the rain began, I found a Winter Damselfly lurking in the undergrowth. They’ve proved notoriously difficult (for me) to get a good shot of, especially at 1/25th second, which is what my camera was registering in the non-existent light. Then I remembered I’d got a built-in flash. “Why not?”, I thought, so I did. Here’s the best result, with the light showing the metallic bomb-shaped marks on the abdomen quite nicely (I think).
We got wet returning to the car again.