Friday, 2 September 2011

Day 13, in which we count wild things

I haven't gone looking for wildlife this holiday, but I've stumbled across quite a bit.

Everyone expects little lizards to climb walls in Europe and I've seen plenty of them, but I've also seen things I didn't expect.

While driving along the local lanes we've seen red squirrels.

While paddling in the Dordogne at Beynac to cool down a viperine snake swam past.  I wasn't sure I'd ever been in water when a snake had been in the same vicinity.  Now granted it was small and, having done my research, I now know it wasn't venomous but I didn't know that at the time.  I just stayed where I was and called to Dave, Hannah and Ethan to come and have a look.

While waiting for the boys stood next to a pond yesterday we saw two European water voles and whilst they are sometimes called water rates they are much cuter than rats.  They are chubbier and have smaller ears and tails.

And today there were hundreds of swifts flying balletically next to out holiday house.  They were swooping and diving and catching insects on the wing and they were incredibly beautiful.

The highlight though might have been the sight when I was watching the swifts.  I heard a rush of air and then I saw it; a peregrine falcon at the end of a steep dive aiming for one of the super fast swifts.  It failed and stumbled out of its dive to gradually regain height and disappear from view but it all happened within 20 metres of me.  Stunning.



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