Wildlife in south Burgundy
Over nearly 25 years of visits the owners have seen a wide variety of intriguing fauna and flora seen every year and photographed in their gardens.
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Butterflies and moths.
Swallowtails are common and frequent visitors up to 3 at a time have been seen. The buddleas attract many species some of which are rare or unknown in the UK such as the scarce swallowtail.
Clouded yellows and Camberwell Beauties have also been seen in our garden.
Giant Peacock Moth
Unknown in the UK this is Europe's largest moth. This mating pair was photographed on our front terrace.
Their wingspan can be up to 6” (15cms). It is reported that the adults live for only two weeks or so and do not feed. The caterpillars when mature are greenish yellow with bright blue tipped warty structures bearing bristles that can irritate if handled.
This shy family of harmless creatures were photographed sunbathing by the rear terrace.
Seen occasionally on warm spring evenings
These brilliant black and yellow amphibians can sometimes be seen in damp hollows on the hillside.
(Photo by Emilisha)
Affectionately known as 'old crapeau' this fist sized friend of the domain has been around for almost 20 years.
The main differences between frogs and toads are:-
The skin of a frog is relatively smooth compared to that of a toad. The frog lives most of the time in water while the toad prefers earth. The female frog lays its eggs in clusters and a female toad spawns a chain.
They are often seen along the track, the bottom hedge row and specially the terrace behind the house. In the autumn they can be seen here chasing backwards and forwards collecting hazelnuts from one end and chestnuts from the other.
Known in Roman times as 'edible dormice' these inquisitive creatures looking like baby squirrels can sometimes be heard on the roof in autumn.
Only seen once or twice these rare creatures sometimes leave a trace of their visit to the bread oven.
photo by Franco Atirador
Frequently seen on the hillside
Only their footprints have been seen by the water hole high on the hillside.
Hares, moles, foxes and badgers
are often seen around the grounds.
Each feeder valley to the Grosne seems to support a pair of Buzzards. These elegant giant Raptors announce their presence with their mewing cry as they soar on thermals of warm rising air.
Occasionally Red Kites join the aerial displays only to be chased off by small groups of Rooks.
(photo by Thomas Kraft)
Before the renovations Barn Owls nested in the buildings that are still graced by many popular species.
(Photo by Stevie B)
Recently Hoopoes lodged in nearby trees and were seen feeding on the back terrace less than 2 metres from the salon.
Photo by Luc Viatour.
The region and the hillside of Champ Boyer in particular support many varieties of wild flower partly because most of the meadows have never suffered chemical treatment and also because many species are at the Northern extent of their range and are consequently seldom seen in the UK such as
This species is also known as the ‘edible hyacinth’ and is reported to be sold in continental markets as such. Please do not try eating the bulbs – all wild flowers should be left unpicked and undisturbed. It is common in the hedgerows and verges of Burgundy and is recorded as having been cultivated from as early as the 16th century.
These now very popular cultivated spring bulbs (Muscari) can occasionally be found wild in our meadows as can autumn crocuses.
The poor soils of our steeply sloping fields seem to attract orchids, however, they are often much degraded by grazing animals. See if you can identify some of the species.
Champ Boyer is well stocked with wildlife guides and reference books.