Monday, 11 November 2019

Freshwater jellyfish in France.


This summer we experienced a very long period of drought and two scorching heat waves which are probably the reason for an unusual and little known phenomenon to occur in the Vienne departement along with other parts of west and southwest France! These were exactly the right conditions when the water warms sufficiently for the emergence of a tiny freshwater jellyfish, craspedacusta sowerbii.  

They are normally only seen when they take the form of a small bell-shaped jellyfish known as a hydromedusa and float near the surface of the water but this requires a water temperature of at least 25°C and forms only one part of their interesting lifecycle.

As a jellyfish they are 20–25 mm in diameter, somewhat flatter than a hemisphere, and very delicate. They have a whorl of up to 400 tentacles tightly packed around the bell margin. Hanging down from the center of the inside of the bell is a large stomach structure called a manubrium, with a mouth-opening and four frilly lips. Food is taken in and waste  expelled through the mouth opening.
Click photo to enlarge


Craspedacusta sowerbyi more often exist as microscopic podocysts (dormant "resting bodies"), frustules (larvae produced asexually by budding), planulae (larvae produced sexually by the hydromedusae), or as sessile polyps, which attach to stable surfaces and can form colonies consisting of two to four individuals and measuring 5 to 8 mm.

This species, originally from China (Yangtze River Basin), probably originally arrived in Europe with aquatic plants imported for botanical gardens. In the ponds of Kew Gardens, near London, it was discovered in 1880 by the naturalist William Sowerby. Since then, it has conquered every continent thanks to the trade in aquarium plants.

In France they can be found in slow moving rivers, lakes and ponds, maybe even your garden pond if they have been transported there with pond plants or stuck to birds’ feet.  Should you come across them you need not worry, they present no danger to humans or other mammals.

Chris


Sunday, 3 November 2019

Man stung 30 times by Asian Hornets in France


It’s not that Asian Hornets venom is anymore toxic than our native hornet and wasps, or even that they are more aggressive away from their nest. It’s more about where Asian Hornets are increasingly choosing to make their nest.

I’ve chosen a few recent cases to illustrate this.

In Montmorillon, Vienne, a 76 year old man was stung more than 30 times by Asian Hornets in his garden when cutting a small hedge outside his house on the 30th of October 2019.
When his wife came to his assistance he was covered in hornets and she was stung 5 times before neighbours arrived with thick clothing and managed with the use of wasp sprays to get him away from them. He was transported to the hospital by the Pompiers to receive treatment.


The couple had never noticed the presence of the hornets in the hedge which is about 50cm high.

Earlier in the year on 1st August, in the Nantes area another man was stung more than 10 times when he disturbed an Asian Hornet nest in the water meter box and fortunately suffered no serious effects, however the day before at Grayan-et-l'Hôpital, Gironde, a woman died following multiple stings when she disturbed an Asian Hornet nest at about 1.5 metres from the ground when going to her post box.

In these and most other cases attacks occur when nests are disturbed, whether that is Wasps, Bees or Hornets. I have myself suffered the consequences of putting a brush cutter into a wasp nest at ground level and know how easy it is to hack away without first looking for any obvious nest activity. 

What’s becoming increasingly clear for anyone that has been following the evolving situation with Asian Hornets year on year is that they are increasingly making their nests close to the ground. This inevitably leads to an increase in attacks. (European Hornet nests are always under cover in buildings or hollow trees making accidental disturbance less likely).

Other than in a handful of cases a year in France very few people actually die from stings.

More about stings LINK HERE

Chris

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Bees in a bird box and swarm in a house


I have come across plenty of honeybee colonies that have set up home in the roofs of houses, and when necessary, have even been known to remove them when the roof was about to be renovated and it would have been too dangerous for the roofers to work. Otherwise I always encourage people to leave them alone as they present no problems for the homeowners and should be seen as a privilege in the same way as we do when swallows, house martins, wrens and other birds choose to share our property.

I have also seen honeybees nest in all manner of other places, old milk churns, compost bins, in windows and so on, but yesterday, one way or another, was a bonus day, (I’m easily pleased).

An acquaintance called and asked if I would mind taking a look at what was happening at their house where, for a few days, they had seen activity under the eaves on one corner of their house and weren’t sure if it was bees or wasps.

I arrived there at around 10am and really there wasn’t much to see, just a very small number of honeybees floating around showing no particular interest in any one spot. While we were talking another man came up the road who was introduced to me as Andy.  Andy lives just down the road and in the general course of conversation he said that he had bees living in an owl box he had installed. Needless to say I asked if I could see them and my first thought was that they would be Bombus hypnorum,  the tree Bumblebee, (or New Garden Bumblebee as they are sometimes known). He said they were smaller than a bumblebee and when we got there it was abundantly clear that it was a very active honeybee colony. The box, that had been made for Little Owls that are also present in this small hamlet, was placed in a stone wall in the aperture that had once been a small square window. As we moved away from there to return we saw a cloud of insects over a nearby field and as I walked towards them I realised it was a swarm of bees and soon they were everywhere in  an expanding cloud. As they moved off at a moderate speed we followed them up the road, over the roofs and straight to the corner of the house where the original activity had been observed. There we were in the middle of perhaps 15 or 20 thousand bees as they made their way into the roof, and, although I have seen plenty of bees swarming into a hive this is the first time I have actually seen them moving into a roof.
Click on photos to enlarge



The owners of the house say they can stay there and I hope that is the case.

Chris

Thursday, 27 June 2019

France and the banning of neonicotinoid insecticides


France Becomes The First Country To Ban All Five Pesticides Linked To Bee Deaths.

Most of us will have seen this or similarly worded headlines on a myriad of mainstream media sites, blogs, alternative information sites and sites that are simply click bait for advertising revenue. Many of these so called articles are full of sensational erroneous statements and speculations that have no factual or scientific foundation what so ever.

Large numbers of people will have liked, shared and commented on these pages without any idea of what the reality is or giving it any real thought.  Most of us do this at some time or another on social media because to do otherwise would be too time consuming.

So what actually is the reality?

Yes, France has banned the use of five types of neonicotinoid insecticides that by definition have been shown to cause harm to insects.  This is two more than the EU have banned, although countries frequently derogate from the ban in certain circumstances, most recently, (Dec 2018), Belgium and some other countries are allowing sugar beet growers to use Imidacloprid as a seed treatment for 2019.  Seed treatments have been by far the main method of delivery used here in France principally on Oil Seed Rape, Maize and Sunflowers. They were also used as foliar sprays on fruit crops of most types after flowering.

However, that is not the end of the story.  Neonicotinoids are still used in flea treatments for domestic creatures and in the house plant industry.

There is little point discussing just how much, if at all, the neonicotinoids that were used in France affected honeybees, which are, after all, generally a commercially managed species here in the same way that chickens and pigs are. Overall there has been no decline in honey bee colonies.

It is however highly likely that they have contributed in no small manner to the decline of many other insect and bee species by virtue of sub lethal doses adding one more stress factor. Having said that, it’s impossible to quantify exactly what role they played against the backdrop of massive habitat loss and the large scale use of other pesticides, (some 2,500 authorised in France).

Here comes the rub. Without meaning to sound churlish, banning the five neonicotinoids in itself isn’t that big a deal when it comes to protecting the environment and saving our wildlife populations as a whole. What the ban has brought about is a return to open spraying of other pesticides, (although fungicides have always been open sprayed).  The problem is particularly bad when it comes to OSR* where the crops are sprayed when in full flower. This not only impacts all the different insects that are foraging or living there but also all the birds that nest in or along the margins of this crop.  In particular Linnet, Stone Chat, Yellow Wagtail, Corn bunting, Yellowhammer, Hen Harrier and Montague’s Harrier. Hedgehogs may also be present and foraging although not during actual spraying.

Click on image to expand



In conclusion, although this ban may be beneficial it is nowhere near enough given France is one of the greatest users of pesticides in Europe, something that is increasing at a substantial rate year on year. Huge changes have to be made if we are “to save everything” and not simply shuffle the cards using the same deck and still be killing as many species. 


OSR – Oil Seed Rape.

Pesticides – an overall generic term now used for all “cides”. Insecticides, Herbicides, Fungicides,  Rodenticides and so on.

Chris

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Log hive at a French Chateau


Chateau bees.

It’s not unusual to get called out to bee swarms and colonies between the windows and shutters of French houses. It is after all an ideal space if the shutters are closed.  The other day I was called to one in a Chateau, all very straight forward with a nice sized window for the Ruchette, (small hive box).

Victoria, the woman from the Chateau, wondered if they had come from the bees in the large section of Lime tree trunk from the tree that they had cut down in the late autumn.  Immediately she had my attention and so the story unfolded. It seems the tree had to be cut down as it had become dangerous having split in a storm. They insisted that the section with the bees in it be cut out in one large piece and this was later moved to a suitable location in the grounds with the open ends covered up to provide protection but with enough gaps for the bees to come and go. Walking down to where it was I was impressed by the size of it and although it was laid flat on the ground the bees had obviously made the necessary adjustments and were happily going about their business.

Click on images to enlarge.


Maybe not the standard idea of a log hive

Then it turns out there is another honeybee colony high up in one of the chateau towers walls which it seems is always occupied by bees. Of course this may not be a continuous occupation. More likely that from time to time the colony fails and the space attracts a future swarm as is usually the case.


Honeybee colony in the tower wall, entrance circled in red.

The colony that had set up home between the window and shutters was easy enough. They had been there a couple of weeks or probably a little more. Strangely there was quite a lot of brood but no honey and only a little pollen.  They are now safely in my apiary where they are very busy on the Sweet Chestnut that has just started to flower.


Ruchette in the widow, bees happily inside and waiting for me to take them away.

I must add that it’s a great joy to meet people that care about the other creatures we live with and make every effort to accommodate them. Their buildings and grounds are a little wildlife haven.

Chris

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Purple emperor and Lesser purple emperor butterflies in France


Purple emperor and Lesser purple emperor butterflies – a simplified life cycle and how to see them.

These two butterflies spend most of their time in the woodland canopy where they feed on aphid honeydew, or occasionally when they descend to feed on sap runs or, in the case of the male, animal droppings, carrion or moist ground that provide much needed salts and minerals which are generally the only times we get the chance to see them.

Click on images to expand 
Above - Male 
Above - Female 

Both species use willows, principally Goat willow, and in the case of the Lesser Purple Emperor poplars as well, especially Populus tremula, for their caterpillars to feed on.

Eggs are placed singly on leaves near the tree canopy and the caterpillars have an extraordinary life cycle that can last 300 days or more with various pauses between each instar change, the last before pupation being a long hibernation through winter in a crevice or branch fork wrapped in a little spun silk.  Pupation takes place in spring and adults fly from May.

Both species can be observed throughout France where there are woodlands or copses but are more numerous in the warmer parts of the country.

As mentioned above they are drawn to animal droppings, carrion or moist ground where they can access minerals and other salts and many people make up mixtures to attract them during the summer months. Most of these mixtures are fairly foul by human standards and frequently contain rotting shrimp and other seafood or fish such as sardine. Best put in a container for a week or two somewhere warm before being put out on the ground on a sunny morning in July or August. Dead animals and mammal excrement are also popular but maybe not something everyone would want in their garden.

Of course your success will be dependant on the butterflies being present which is one more good reason for growing Goat willow and even if you don’t have either species of Purple Emperor where you are these mixes will attract some other species of butterfly.

Have fun - Chris

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Assassin bug the Masked hunter, Reduvius personatus, in France


Masked hunter, Reduvius personatus,  Réduve masque

Found in most regions of France this member of the True bug family is known as an Assassin bug and due to its secretive nocturnal behaviour it tends to go unnoticed even when in your home.

They are especially fond of old houses, barns and outbuildings where they hunt other insects including bedbugs, silverfish, book lice and flies. However they will eat any number of small insects and can also be found in other habitats including woodland, scrub and grasslands but always avoiding the light. Where ever they are they are never in large numbers.


Although they bite and kill their prey by piercing them with their robust rostrum they rarely use this against humans unless handled roughly but if they do it isn't dangerous but can be extremely painful.

They spend the winter as juveniles and then breed in May or June having reached the adult stage.  During their development stages, (instars), they exude a sticky substance and coat themselves in dust and debris presumably to camouflage themselves.


Rather like the House Centipede they help maintain a balance in the home by predating on other insects even though you may not even be aware of their presence. 

Chris







Monday, 11 March 2019

Ladybirds in France including the Asian Harlequin Ladybird


Every year in autumn and spring there are articles in the media, especially in the UK, about the Asian Ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, or Harlequin Ladybird as it is known, one of several thousand different non native species introduced in both France and the UK although only a few are ladybirds. This species is generally regarded as the most invasive ladybird on Earth and although they undoubtedly have an environmental impact due to their high breeding and survival rate combined with their voracious appetite most experts are of the opinion that they are now so abundant that there is little if any point in killing them.


Harlequin ladybirds, above, are extremely variable but most have a clearly defined "M" or "W" on the pronotum.

Although they feed most commonly on aphids they have a wide food range that includes scale insects, adelgids, the eggs and larvae of butterflies and moths, many other small insects including other ladybirds, pollen, nectar, and sugary fluids, including honeydew and the juice from ripe fruits bringing them into direct competition with native species of Ladybird many of which are already under pressure resulting from all the usual reasons, habitat loss and pesticide use being uppermost.

The risk as always that comes from articles in the media and the consequent sharing on social media is that some people will unwittingly start killing anything that they don’t recognise as the stereotypical image of a Ladybird, generally the most common of which is the Red and Black spotted 7 spot ladybird, and there are too many people already locked into a “kill everything that isn’t a butterfly” mode of thinking.

To move on, there are 90 or more species of native Ladybird in France most of which wouldn’t be recognised as such. Some are brown, some black, some yellow and black, some black and red, some orange and perhaps not surprisingly many are highly selective about where they live and what they eat with many being vegetarian.

It would be difficult here to include that number of native species, so I have listed a few here to give some idea of just how different they are. 

Kidney-spot ladybird (Chilocorus renipustulatus) Black body with large red spot on each wing case, feeds on scale insects on the bark of trees.

Pine ladybird (Exochomus 4-pustulatus) Usually elytra are black with two larger red comma-shaped spots and two smaller red round or oval spots, feeds on aphids and scale insects.

Heather ladybird (Chilocorus 2-pustulatus) Black with 2 to 6 red spots feeds on scale insects.

16-spot ladybird (Tytthaspis 16-punctata) Beige with black spots. Feeds on Aphids, Pollen, nectar and fungi. Can overwinter in large numbers, 50 or more in one cluster.

Orange ladybird (Halyzia 16-guttata) Orange Ladybirds can be bright yellow or orange in colour with 16 creamy spots. Feeds on mildew.

22-spot ladybird (Psyllobora 22-punctata). Bright yellow with 22 black spots. Feeds on Mildews

24 spot ladybird (Subcoccinella vigintiquattuorpunctata) Sometimes known as the Alfalfa Ladybird. Orange –red, number of spots may vary. Feeds on a variety of plants including Campions, vetches, trefoils, chickweed and plantains among others. They will also take grasses and in France can be a pest of lucerne.

Hieroglyphic ladybird (Coccinella hieroglyphica) brown or black with black stripes, spots and patches. Feeds on larvae of Heather leaf beetle.

Bryony ladybird (Henosepilachna argus) Orange red with 11 black spots. Feeds on White bryony and plants of the Melon family.

28-spotted potato ladybird (Henosepilachna vigintioctopunctata) Orange with 28 spots feeds on the foliage of potatoes and other solanaceous crops.


 Chris.


Saturday, 9 March 2019

Pine processionary moth and hairy caterpillars in France


With the aid principally of social media in all its aspects the Pine processionary moth increasingly strikes fear into the population with all the stories about how dangerous they can be.

There is certainly no denying their harmful nature should someone or their pet animal come into close physical contact with them or breathe in their harmful hairs but we mustn’t let this lead us into a panic that results in the destruction of our other native hairy or web forming caterpillars that need all the protection that they can get.

The first thing to understand is that Pine processionary moth nests are always in Pine trees and only rarely in Fir trees. A caterpillar web anywhere else is a different type of caterpillar.

Secondly, when on the ground they will invariably be found in the classic processions “nose to tail” and only very rarely as individuals should they have been blown from the trees by storms.

Thirdly, they will only be found on the ground when Pine or Fir trees are in very close proximity.

Moving on to a few other web forming species with one that always causes undue worry and that is the Spindle Ermine Moth that form large webs on Spindle trees often completely covering them and stripping all the leaves. This usually occurs in early May when the first leaves are produced and despite it looking like a disaster zone more leaves are produced when the caterpillars descend to pupate and the tree busts back into life.  

Click on images to expand
Spindle Ermine Moth 
Another species that was once very common but now in decline principally due to hedgerow removal and poor management is the Small Eggar Moth.  The caterpillars form dense webs on Hawthorn and Blackthorn. Again the host plant recovers once the caterpillars have descended to pupate.   
Small Eggar Moth

Various species of Ermine moth can be found on apple trees and these again are harmless to the overall health of the tree and humans although they may cause damage to fruits should the web engulf them. 
Ermine moth species on Quince tree

There are of course many hairy caterpillars that don’t form nesting webs and all hairy caterpillars can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions but this would normally only be if they came in contact with sensitive areas of our skin or if someone was unusually sensitive. As children we used to have great fun putting them down each others shirts to cause itching. However that said they will have no effect on the harder surfaces of our skin such as our fingers and the palms of our hands. 

I’ll provide a small selection here of some of the more common species that people are likely to come across and I can't emphasise enough the need to care for all our native species that are struggling so much. Without caterpillars and moths a huge number of other species will starve without enough to eat. One Blue Tit chick alone can eat up to 100 caterpillars a day.
Brown Tail Moth
Fox Moth
Garden Tiger Moth
Garden Tiger Moth
Oak Eggar Moth
Pale Tussock Moth
Ruby Tiger Moth
Cream spot Tiger


Chris

Friday, 8 March 2019

New Bat species for France - Myotis crypticus


Le Murin cryptique  Myotis crypticus   Feb 2019

A new species of bat has been discovered in wooded areas of Italy, France, Switzerland and Spain.

This brings the number of species to be found in France
To 35

It is very close to Natterer's bat (Myotis nattereri) and positive identification has so far relied on DNA analysis. Despite their closeness they do not hybridise. 

Reproduction colonies are usually in hollow trees but can be in artificial man made structures. Hibernation takes place underground in fissures. Much remains to be known about this species.

Chris

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Beetles in the Firewood in France



Every year in France, usually from about February, some people find their houses invaded by small red or reddish-brown beetles. This is by no means everywhere and many people will never see one, however where they are present they can sometimes be observed in relatively large numbers.



The creature concerned is a Longhorn Beetle, Pyrrhidium sanguineum, although being only 8 to 12 mm it is rarely recognised as being one. Known in English as Welsh Oak Longhorn Beetle and its common French name is La Callidie Sanguine).

Females lay eggs in crevices in dead or freshly cut wood with bark that is exposed to the sun from March – June and are polyphagous in nature using a range of deciduous trees, but with a preference for oak (Quercus spp.).  Larvae burrow into the timber making galleries up to 60cm in length where, when fully grown, they pupate.  They can’t use seasoned timber and usually have an annual life cycle, occasionally this can be two years.

When this wood is stored or kept for a while in the home or perhaps a garage as firewood the adult beetles tend to emerge earlier due to the higher ambient temperature. Where firewood is stored outside in proximity to the home they may be seen a little later in the year when it is warmer.

Fortunately for us we don’t need to worry as they are completely harmless in our homes and can be popped outside where they belong.

Chris

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Glanville Fritillary France


The Glanville Fritillary, Melitaea cinxia,  is named after Lady Eleanor Glanville, a 17th century Lepidopterist who discovered this species in Lincolnshire. She first discovered this species in 1702 when it was first named as the Lincolnshire Fritillary and only later in 1748 was it was officially re-named the Glanville Fritillary.  These days it is mainly confined to the south coast of the Isle of Wight, with the occasional colony, typically short-lived, appearing on the South Hampshire coast.

Click on images to expand


It is a butterfly that can be found in most regions of France and the Channel Islands where it forms small colonies where there is suitable habitat. There has been a reduction in numbers especially in the north and west of its range with habitat loss being the most likely main cause.

They require low growing sparse grassland, natural flower meadows, scrub, woodland edges and even roadside verges but due to the increase in what is called improved pasture and in cereal production in the broad sense there is increasing isolation of populations. The widespread use of Roundup (Glyphosate) to keep the ground clear in vineyards is another threat to this butterfly along with a number of other species.  

In the southern half of the country there are usually two broods with the first on the wing in April / May and the second generation June / September. Regardless of whether there is a single brood or two broods in a season they over winter as caterpillars in webs that they form on the ground with their food plant which is principally Plantain hence the French common name of La Mélitée du Plantain. 


Lady Eleanor’s collection of butterflies still exists and is housed in the Natural history Museum.

Chris

Friday, 15 February 2019

Field beans as a fodder crop for sheep in France

In the autumn of 2018 several large fields where we live were planted predominantly with Field beans with a few other plants including fodder radish, mustard and phacelia. This has never happened here before and I was quite excited at the thought that these may be left to flower in the spring which would have been great for all manner of species including my bees. However it seems this is not going to happen.

Yesterday when I was out with my dog I saw that one of the fields was electric fenced and had sheep in it and that the adjacent field was also electric fenced but had been grazed.  



From both an agricultural and environmental perspective I can see the benefits in this. The crop as a green manure provides good winter cover, prevents nutrient leaching, adds nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil and the owner of the sheep has fresh early season fodder for their animals.

I should explain that sheep aren’t pastured where we live as it is more profitable to grow cereal crops and that the farmer that owns these particular sheep also grows cereals here including barley for his winter sheep feed. His sheep are kept for the summer some distance away on land that is unsuitable for cereals and are transported to his farm here for winter where they are housed in a huge barn where they are lambed before being returned in spring to their summer grazing pastures.

Regardless of your views on eating meat this would appear to be an improvement for the animals involved and the land.

Chris

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Hunt or hunting days in France


There are always people asking what days are the hunting days in France and the simple answer is that there is no National law that prohibits hunting on any day of the week during the open hunting season although various Associations keep petitioning for Sundays to be hunt free.


Part of the confusion where it exists is that there isn’t simply one type of hunting or la chasse and that la chasse is often erroneously thought of as being uniquely chasse en battue that involves a minimum number of participants with some driving or flushing through an area using dogs pushing any animals, (boar, deer, fox), out into the open to where one or more hunters wait with guns. Usually this type of organised hunt takes place on two or three specific days of the week that are agreed at the commune level, (ours is Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays) and the people that participate in this like to call themselves La Chasse.  However rough shooting for smaller creatures, birds, rabbits, hares etc. can take place on any day of the week although in practice Wednesday afternoon is usually avoided due to being a half school day.

To be clear - La Chasse can be defined as using various means in order to capture and kill creatures either for eating or for destruction and no single group of hunters can claim this as belonging to them alone.

There was a brief period from July 2000 and July 2003 when hunting was banned on Wednesdays and this was instituted throughout France at the request of the Minister of the Environment, Dominique Voynet, through Article 24 of the hunting law 2000-698 of 26 July 2000, which stipulated: "Article L.224-2 of the Rural Code is worded as follows: ... The practice of shooting hunting is prohibited from Wednesday 6 am to Thursday 6 am".  However in 2003, the repeal of this "no-hunt Wednesday" was included in the bill on hunting put forward by Roselyne Bachelot then Minister of Ecology! It was then voted into law by the majority UMP-UC

The law of 2003-698 of July 30, 2003, by Article 27, thus cancelled this provision altogether (which had in the meantime been transposed to the rural code to that of the environment): "The last paragraph of the Article L. 424-2 of the Environmental Code is deleted."

Therefore only the Prefect of each Departement can order days without hunting in application of the article R.424-1 of the code of the environment but in practice this rarely occurs.

Other limits that are set each year at the Departemental level each year limiting or restricting the time periods and numbers of specific species will apply.

Chris

Friday, 11 January 2019

Beaver in Pyrénées-atlantiques, France

In the Pyrénées-Atlantiques the first photos emerge of a beaver after several centuries of absence for this species in this area of France.

In February 2018, a naturalist on vacation in the Basque region of France discovered indices of beaver presence on the banks of the Nive at Ustaritz (64) in the form of cut tree trunks and debarked branches.

Click on photos to enlarge - Credits photos  SD64  ONCFS


This led to the realization of a joint research by the ONCFS,
Thomas Ruys of Cistude Nature association, a representative of APPMA, (the angling federation), and a local naturalist.

This investigation confirmed that the indices were indeed those of a beaver but didn’t provide any actual sightings of one.
Following these observations of new cutting activity on fresh trees in November 2018, a photographic trap was installed which resulted in pictures of a beaver working on the trunk of a tree!
For the moment only one animal has been identified that is suspected of being an individual dispersed from the Spanish population of beavers present on the basin of the Ebro or perhaps as seems more likely one or more have been introduced clandestinely.


The ONCFS beaver network will continue in the coming months monitoring the sector, as well as upstream and downstream areas, to check whether it is a permanent installation and to try to better understand the dynamics of the species.

The question is has the beaver made a comeback in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques after several centuries of absence or is this a lone example with unknown origins? 



Chris

Friday, 4 January 2019