I realise this is the first post in almost a year, but to be honest, there has been little to report.  The early spring and summer were quite void of anything of any interest.  The moth trap was empty for the greater part and there was little in the way of butterflies.

It was not until late July here in the Essonne department that things began to take off.  Although the moth trap still turned up little of note, butterflies began to show more promis.  The local woods turned up both White Admiral (Limenitis Camilla) and Purple Emperor (Apatura iris).

An area I call the track, which winds its way through some of our local farmland tends to throw up the most species.  Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Brown Argus (Aricia agestis), Small Blue (Cupido minimus) and Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) to name but a few.

There are two areas of cover over the farm, one is a small broadleaf copse, there mainly to give shelter to Pheasants (Phasianus colchicus). The other is a 40 metre long, 15 metre wide scrub area, consisting of Willows (Salix), Birch (Betulaceae) and Brambles (Rubus fruticosus). The former provides habitat for Buzzard (Buteo buteo), Tawny Owl (Strix aluco), Wild Boar (Fr: Sanglier) (Sus scrofa) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major).

The scrub has thrown up some nice birds this year. Among them are Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola), Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita), and Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica).  Over the winter this whole area plays host to not only the Hen Harriers but Merlin (Falco columbarius) too, a sight up until this year I have not seen since 1989 at Sandwich on the Green Wall).


Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

The Woods down the road just outside Briis-sous-Forges provided views of White Admiral this year, as it did last year, but they have managed to elude my camera.  I think I may have another two weeks to try and photograph one.

Most of the hirundines have left now but were in good numbers this year, especially the Swifts (Apus apus) and Swallows (Hirundo rustica). We now have small groups heading from North to South, Vis mig is with us!

2013 Was a bumper year for Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus) but the following years including 2016 have been quite poor, with no more than a one or two sightings.  But I did record my second Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae) here in the garden this year.

Now in September the weather has finally improved for the moth trap, with warm and muggy nights with some cloud cover, the annual onslaught of Hornets (Vespa crabro) has arrived to accompany it too.  I try not to trap when the Hornets are in large numbers; it is not good for either the Hornets or the moths.

August and into September have proved this year to be outstanding for both Small White (Pieris rapae) & Large White (Pieris brassicae) butterflies. You can go nowhere without seeing multitudes of them at every turn.  It could turn out to be that they enjoy late summers?  Peacocks (Aglais io) too are enjoying good numbers in the latter part of the summer with one particular Buddleia (Buddleja) covered in no less than 46 individuals.

Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae)

Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae)











I now look forward to what the rest of the year will throw up.  Some of the best moth trapping can be done in October and it will be nice if we get a return of the small flock of Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus) that were here over the winter of 2015/16.

Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus)

Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus)










Happy birding,

an english birder in france

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