Wild life in the garden, or around!

One of a group of about 10 or so red and black kites, following the neighbour farmer’s tractor as he made the hay in the next door field at the weekend.


They do that regularly around here to. I’ve seen as many as a dozen black kites all flying towards where fields are being cut. Lots of mice get driven into the open presumably, and they’ve learned to react to the noise.

1 Like

I saw my first stick insect in France, yesterday…

Pale green, almost pale lime green… it was sitting on the huge glass pane of the SdFete… on the space between 2 posters…

@vero please can you give me the French name for this…

The 2 kids who were with me were happy to mutter “stick insect” (impromptu English lesson) but they didn’t know what it was… (I suggested “tige de bois”)

I knew what it was as my sister had some at her school in UK, she looked after them in the holidays and they got loose and ran amok… but they were brown ones…)

@Stella It’s called a phasme in French, as far as I know it doesn’t have a more common name!


OK so “Fasm” is how it will sound??? although I’ll obviously spell it out as well…

Yes, rhymes with spasme :slightly_smiling_face:


They don’t appear to be adapted to the Auvergnat climate, if the maps here are anything to go by…I’d spend my day photographing them otherwise !

Interesting site!

clonopsis gallica was the one I saw, I reckon…

1 Like

Gordon Bennett… seen another oddity today…

A normal, garden lizard had its teeth closing on the snout/upper jaw of a small snake… the small snake had the lower jaw of the lizard in its own mouth…
result was that each had the other in a grip neither would give up… and both were dead.

I took some photos and will post 'em as soon as I get my main comp working.

Can’t anymore, chez moi. They were common my way, years ago, but now seemingly gone. And gone is the praying mantis.

And there aren’t nearly as many other insects here as there used to be, years ago.

That’s horrifyingly true :cry:


One insect I’m happy not seeing this year is flea beetles

You’ve piqued my curiosity, need to go and look now !

My brassicas are very happy, also noticed not many cabbage whites.

Also haven’t noticed many aphids this year, especially black bean aphids, none at all. The only aphides (I didn’t look to see what they were) I’ve seen were on my globe artichokes the ladybirds were having a feast & the ants were milking them so left well alone. So far I haven’t netted or used diatomaceous earth for any brassicas, good for my crops but worried for the ecosystem, yet another strange year.

Drama! I was watching a sparrow eating from my window-pane bird feeder when a largish brown bird swooped diagonally down and past and very close to the window, and at speed. The sparrow froze, flattened and remained absolutely still on the bird feeder for maybe 20 seconds - it didn’t blink - then started fluttering into the glass, as if trying to escape, couldn’t, then flew away in an opposite direction.

Went downstairs for a better look and a large brown bird flew out of the garden and sat on a ridge opposite. It was a predatory bird, and hadn’t caught anything. It may have been after a rat, of which there are some hiding in the garden undergrowth. As it flapped away, slowly, I got the impression of a buzzard-looking bird.

A sigh of relief! What they do out in the wild is up to them, but not in my garden please! Was impressed by the sparrow freezing to the spot, totally and absolutely still.

1 Like

It’s one of the reasons why I will not have bird feeders. Small birds cluster atypically and they become an easy target for birds of prey.

I have a feeling that the buzzard, if it was a buzzard, was going for prey at ground level, where rats do hide and are active during the day in my garden. Its trajectory was such. It didn’t go for the bird feeder on the window or the dense tree opposite where the little birds hide. There was no explosion of sparrows escaping a swooping predator.

There is a rat infestation around my garden, the chemin and adjacent empty broken-down old barns, which could have attracted the buzzard.

I take your point about clustering of LBJs attracting predators, but have never seen attacks like that before, or found loose feathers lying around from a snatch, and I’ve had bird feeders of one kind or another over many years. Same window.

Long live the LBJs!

And our cat!

1 Like

I saw possums in the park last night, so sweet, one came to about 40cm from my head but when it saw I had nothing edible (it had a good look) it buzzed off up its tree again.

1 Like