Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Late postcards

Been su-per busy lately, so much so that this cob-webbed corner of the internet has been even more neglected than usual, and I haven't even finished with the highlights of our Easter holiday in France. This will probably be the last late postcard from Brittany, so I will finish where I began, pondering the mysteries of how mega-fussy, range restricted, habitat-specialist species in Britain can be as common as caca on the near continent. First up, the Crested Tit: if you want to see this in Britain and you're not in pristine Caledonian Pine Forest, forget it; in France, by contrast, pick a park, any park...
Crested Tit, Site des m├ęgalithes de Locmariaquer, Brittany
A pair were being very vocal around the stunning ancient monuments at Locmariaquer
A very perky individual
Serin has often been predicted as a future British coloniser but, apart from some sporadic breeding attempts, it hasn't really happened yet. The one pictured below was just outside our caravan. Pictured below that, the Short-toed Treecreeper breeds in France and the Channel Islands but is only recorded as a rare vagrant in Britain. It was good to have the opportunity to study the subtle differences in plumage and song compared to our Common Treecreeper.
Just to clarify, this Serin does not have a Bishop's hat as part of the plumage, it's a bud on the tree.
Short-toed Treecreeper
Short-toed Treecreeper
Next up is the Firecrest - common enough on these shores but ridiculously so in Brittany, there seemed to be one singing in every suitable patch of habitat, and a few in unsuitable ones. Great to see so many so well, with a lot of crest-raising action to observe in the process as they staked out territories.
Firecrest
Firecrest
Firecrest
So an enjoyable trip with a bit of variety, natural and human history, some familiar and some less familiar wildlife, a few half-decent opportunities to get out with the camera, and quality time with the family. All a good holiday should be.
The famous Carnac Stones - one of the many archaeological treasures of Brittany
Stonechat doing what it says on the tin among the Carnac stones
Stonechat at Suscinio
I call this one 'Stonechateau' - Stonechat in front of the fairy tale castle as Suscinio
Male Linnet
My patient sons at Carnac Plage