Monday, 3 August 2015

A Sneaky bit of Spanish and French Wildlife

Demoiselle, France

 I have recently returned from holiday in the Spanish Pyrenees, followed by a few stops in France. I was actually on a trail biking trip but my little bike got me to some amazing places, where I saw some great wildlife.....First of all was the butterflies - they were abundant to say the least. They did not really rest much for photos - it was so warm that they were able to flutter around all day. Some of the colours were stunning - bright yellows and orange, blue and green.....

Mating butterflies - well I think that is what they are doing!

Beautiful green and bright yellow butterfly with its wings closed

One of my favourites in the insect world has to be dragonflies and I was treated to quite a few sightings of those. Here's just a couple of them.....

I had two great bug treats when I was away. One was a huge stag beetle which flew over my head and landed next to me...I didn't have my camera - I was gutted - he was an angry beast! And the other insect treat of the trip was seeing a demoiselle. I have never seen a demoiselle in the wild, although they can be found at home in Cumbria. I was mesmerised by how iredescent blue and green demoiselles are and when they were in flight they were just stunning. I spotted them on the riverbank at Gorge du Tarn in France.

 And of course when the weather is hot you are always guaranteed to see a lizard or two!

The other treat was the fact that the water was so clear that you could actually see the fish. I particularly liked the trout. I also came across two freshwater crayfish having a bit of a battle over a hiding hole!

Freshwater crayfish
On the drive home I was treated to a stop at the wolf sanctuary and although I only had an hour it was enough time to see some of these majestic animals. The sanctuary/park was near Marvejols which is the town twinned with Cockermouth, near home which was quite cool! The park is really well laid out with a variety of wolf species and lots of information about them.

I particularly liked the Arctic wolves, which whilst at rest reminded me of my white labrador, it may be a different story when they are active!

Arctic Wolf

Some of the wolves were quite hard to spot but if you waited long enough they would have a peek at you and either hide again or just rest with one eye open!

The information at the park was great and inspired me to read up a bit more about these truly majestic animals. Gerard Menatory was one of the pioneering wolf experts whose life of living with and studying wolves led to their preservation and a better understanding of the species. So on that note.....I'm off to read a bit more about him!

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