© Number 10 B & B 2016
Here in the South West the distinctive sound of many birds passing overhead warns us winter is approaching as the cranes are heading off to their winter quarters.
The Common Crane, Grue Cendrée to the French, is one of the largest European birds weighing between 4 and 6 kg, with a wingspan of around 2 metres.
They have spent the summer in their breeding grounds way up North in Scandinavia and the Baltic. Like many of us are seeking a little sunshine through the shorter, darker days and most will winter in Southern Spain.
They can reach speeds of up to 80 kilometres an hour and fly at between 200 and 1000 metres. However to reach their destinations, they first have to cross the Pyrenees mountain range. Thus their main migration route swings across towards the Atlantic coast for a less arduous crossing.
Their journey South is quieter and less spectacular as it is spread over a longer period. However when we really love to hear those somewhat mournful cries is in early Spring as this is when literally thousands of birds can pass in a couple of days – Ah the thought of summer just around the corner.
There are many raptors to be seen in the skies around us and they are a regular sight when out and about. However one morning out for my early constitutional with the hound, I spotted an unusual bird in a field nearby.
As we approached and it took off, it had very distinctive plumage so I was hopeful I would be able to find out exactly what I had seen in our book of French birds of prey.
Success – it was an Egyptian vulture. They are relatively small and have an enormous range but it appears it was unusual to spot one around here.
Navarrenx is twinned with Rheinstetten and this month a group from Germany came to celebrate Le Jumelage.
set up this blog which will hopefully keep you posted. We will also, as and when we get time to explore, try to let you know more about another glorious corner of France.
A band played and traditional dances were demonstrated before the locals could not resist the invitation to join in.
The French in this part of the world are always ready for an excuse to let their hair down and this was no exception. They did not care that they had no idea what the dances involved and were just more than happy to give it a go. A rather dictatorial, dare I say typically Germanic, lady demonstrated and was not backward in coming forward if any dithering local needed shoving in the other direction.
The afternoon certainly went with a swing, no doubt aided by copious quantities German beers. While a selection of German sausages hot from the BBQ kept the energy levels up.
I thought a Pineapple Sage would be a nice addition to our herbs
I did not anticipate the bonus of these lovely scarlet blooms.