Bienvenue à La Belle Vilaine
Self-catering, holiday cottages on the South Brittany/Loire Atlantique border in France.
Pet friendly, family-run gite accommodation - dogs welcome.
Residential Dog-training Courses with Elaine Clark IMDT - optional extra, fees apply.
WILDLIFE RECORDED IN OUR GARDEN
|Situated on the border of Morbihan (south Brittany) and Loire Atlantique our holiday cottages offer you the ideal base from which to explore the wealth of wildlife in this beautiful area.
|La Belle Vilaine Gites Gardens - you don't have to travel far to see some amazing wildlife. Nature is all around! Here follows a bi-lingual list of the birds, butterflies and moths we have recorded in our garden in 2005 / 2006/2007/ 2008 /2009 and 2013 (year species was first recorded). Scroll down to see the list of butterflies on this page - click on the "moths" link above.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER
LE RALE DES GENETS
Faisan de Colchide
TOURTERELLE DES BOIS
Effraie des clochers/Chouette effraie
Chevêche d'Athéna/Chouette chevêche
Hirondelle de fenêtre
Pipit des prés
Bergeronnette des ruisseaux
ROUGE-QUEUE A FRONT BLANC
Fauvette à tête noire
GOBE-MOUCHES NOIR (What a great name!)
Mésange à longue queue
GRIMPEREAU DES JARDINS
Geai des chênes
PINSON DU NORD
Pinson des arbres
Bruant des roseaux
MAP BUTTERFLY (both generations)
LESSER PURPLE EMPEROR
l'Hespérie de la Houque
Piéride du chou
Piéride du navet
Piéride de la rave
L'Azuré du Trèfle
Collier de corail
Azuré de nerprun
THECLA DU CHENE
Le Cuivré fuligineux
Paon du jour
Robert le diable
LE PETIT MARS CHANGEANT
| CLICK HERE FOR GARDEN MOTH LIST - CLIQUEZ ICI POUR LA LISTE DES PAPILLONS DE NUIT DE NOTRE JARDIN.
We never cease to be amazed at the wealth and abundance of birds, butterflies and other wildlife that grace our one and a third acres of land here at La Belle Vilaine holiday cottages. Whether it's due to a difference in farming methods, climate or just the amount of open-space here in south Brittany we couldn't say - but as avid wildlife enthusiasts since childhood, we can say that we are like children in a toy shop! The sight of over 300 House Sparrows feeding on the lawn in winter is every bit as exciting as watching the BLACK KITES circle over-head from March to October. The rush of sound as the sparrows all suddenly fly up to the safety of the hedgerow alerts us to look up just in time to see a sparrowhawk sweeping low or a HOBBY dashing by.
Among the many birds that have raised their young in our trees and hedgerows are HOOPOE, kestrels, whitethroats and TURTLE DOVES. All year round CIRL BUNTINGS can be seen - individuals or pairs in spring/summer, flocking together in colder months. During the autumn and winter months, Redwings and Fieldfares arrive to brighten our days and CATTLE EGRET feed in neighbouring fields. A cold winter brings HAWFINCH and BRAMBLING.
Having a regular supply of SWALLOWTAIL, CAMBERWELL BEAUTY and CLOUDED YELLOW butterflies (see more extensive list above), during their appropriate flight periods, is something we could only have dreamt about in the UK. One year a PRAYING MANTIS laid her eggs on our wooden shutters, having been present for about 2 weeks - she then disappeared and, sadly, so did the eggs.
For more up-to-date information about the wildlife surrounding La Belle Vilaine self-catering, holiday cottages please read our Nature Notes - the month-by-month highlights list information about what we have seen and when.
WILDLIFE WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE
Surrounding Woodland - RED SQUIRRELS, PINE MARTENS and roe deer, live in the nearby pine woodland, together with Lesser Spotted, Great Spotted, Green and BLACK WOODPECKERS. Mixed flocks of tits usually include CRESTED TITS. Colony of LULWORTH SKIPPER located in 2007. Woodlarks and Tree Pipits also breed here. There is an incredible variety of dragonflies and damselflies nearby - click here for a taster of one afternoon's list (July 2008 Nature Notes).
The River Vilaine – a 20 minute walk from your holiday cottage, passing through the woods. The river and surrounding plains are hosts to Kingfisher, Black Kite, Marsh-Harrier, Little Egret, Skylark, BLUETHROAT and RED-BACKED SHRIKE as well as Cetti's, Fan-tailed, Reed and Sedge Warblers (handy to know your bird calls here!). Take the opportunity whilst walking back from the river to further practice your bird-call recognition skills - we often hear both Yellowhammers and CIRL BUNTINGS - waiting for a "Cheeeese" at the end to distinguish one from the other!
La Fontaine de St. Cry - just over half-an-hour's walk away (or less than 5 mins in the car) this boules and picnic area has a large pond and is surrounded by woodland. This has become a firm favourite amongst our visitors. Highlights recorded include:- Fire Salamander, Grass Snake (regularly seen swimming), European Tree Frog; NIGHTJAR; White Admiral, Purple Hairstreak, LARGE TORTOISESHELL, Queen of Spain Fritillary, Camberwell Beauty, Swallowtail; Beautiful Demoiselle, Golden-ringed Dragonfly.
Click here to see some nature photographs. See also the archive Nature Notes (follow links from Nature Notes)
WILDLIFE WITHIN A VERY EASY DAY-TRIP
La Grande Brière nature reserve is just a 20-minute drive. A smaller version of the Norfolk Broads, the reserve offers a wealth of wildlife which can be explored on foot, by horse-drawn carriage or by rowing boat. Numerous guided tours (some in English) are organised throughout the summer. Among the many birds we have spotted within the marshes are GOLDEN ORIOLE, Marsh Harrier, Black Kite, Great White Egret, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Spoonbill, Sacred Ibis*, BLUETHROAT (best time of year - April), Whiskered Tern, and several species of Warbler including Fan-tailed Warbler. Swallowtail and Camberwell Beauty butterflies are frequent during spring and summer. There is also a large White Stork nesting colony. (* A resident colony – result of birds which escaped local wildfowl parks several years ago)
Golfe du Morbihan and La Vilaine Estuary. This wildlife rich coastline is between 20 – 45 minutes drive and is of particular interest during migration and throughout the winter months, although a boat trip around the islands of the Golfe's Sept Iles nature reserve or a cliff-top walk along the breathtaking coastline will bring rewards all-year round.
Guérande Salt Marshes - An interesting visit (45 mins drive - approx) at any time of the year, this working salt-marsh is a breeding ground for such birds as Bluethroat, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet and Spoonbill.
We are constantly up-dating our knowledge of the best wildlife sights in the area in order to give our visitors the best chance of seeing some exciting wildlife, whilst still having time to visit the beaches, restaurants etc.