Autumn, oh renewal!

Autumn comes between the two delicate seasons for observing nature. The nature lover sees autumn as a second spring. After the overwhelming summer heat, the temperatures are cooler and the wildlife takes advantage to "get some fresh air". It is therefore pleasant to wait until nightfall to see the comings and goings of nocturnal mammals. By day, get your binoculars ready when young birds gather for their first migration, guided by their more experienced elders. However, the Mediterranean natural environment still offers them the chance to taste its delicious wild fruits, which are still bursting with sunshine. Some trees are gradually becoming bare, meaning that a bird that is usually discreet and almost invisible, can be observed ... That said, let's be vigilant when the rain returns and brings with it all these little amphibians which walk and leap about, without looking right or left before crossing! Yes but is it really their fault?

Budding naturalists, rest assured that autumn will surprise you. So keep an eye out! 

A native little red critter!

Sciurus vulgarisis its Latin name but we call it the Red Squirrel. That said, it should be noted that this is actually theEuropean red squirrel ! Yes because the others, those from North America for example are gray, and for red, the colours are not mixed together in the fisherman's hut ...The Gray squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, is a healthy carrier of a virus fatal to its cousin. It is also responsible for debarking several species of trees, thus greatly impacting the forest economy, particularly in England and Italy where it is already present. Considered invasive in Europe by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, its arrival in France via the north of Italy is expected very soon. So if while you're out walking you come across a scab* a bit "different" from the others, do not hesitate to let people know by connecting to the website:

* squirrel in Occitan dialect

Young Barn Swallow
Young Barn Swallow

A Swallow's Life: from mud to long journey…

Remember: "Colchiques in the meadows, it's the end of summer". Would they be the only ones to indicate the arrival of autumn? Of course not ! The Swallows who “flower” on electric wires also tell us in their own way. TheBarn swallow (Hirundo rustica) has a rusty throat and a distinctly forked tail. Smaller than its cousin, theCommon house martin (Delichon urbicum) is easily recognized by its white rump.

Both after having stayed with us and ensuring their descendants leave for a long journey to southern Africa. This will be their wintering area for a while. And to think that the first naturalists explained this "disappearance" by the so-called capacity of the Swallows to silt up to resist the bad season. It was not until a century after Pierre Paul Riquet that the Comte de Buffon finally mentioned the migration of birds and refuted this theory.

Underpasses and moderate speed…

Autumn in the Mediterranean region rhymes with the return of the rains. Of course everyone knows that: "When it gets wet, it's a frog party…". But in reality it is all amphibians that benefit. These animals capable of living both in water and in the open air, such as salamanders, tree frogs or other toads. If in the relative humidity of their small pond they do not risk much, it is not the same when they walk in the evening on dry land. Indeed we are interested in the only Common toad (Bufo bufo) and we will quickly realize that in a specific sector and during a given period, hundreds of individuals risk their lives crossing a road. A good way to avoid the carnage is, for example, to ease off when we are driving at night and in rainy weather. Moreover, if this good attitude is supplemented by effective arrangements such as the creation of Toads, small ecological tunnels guiding amphibians towards underground passages, then you will say to me, “coa” better!


The three-legged bird…

Motionless under this old tree, my head tilted back to better fix my eyes on the dead branch which is at the top, I watch the movement of this bird to identify it for sure. If I'm not mistaken, this is the smallest in its "category" and it is not that common to see it during a walk. There it is, it has just shifted slightly. I now see his characteristic “three-legged” silhouette. Of course it is he, clinging to the bark thanks to his long clawed fingers and the robustness of the plumage of his tail which, pressed against the trunk, really serves as a third point of support. The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dryobates minor) tall as a sparrow is nonetheless a worthy representative of the Picidae family and therefore perfectly suited to arboreal life. Greedy for xylophagous larvae, it feeds on the upper parts of trees, leaving the lower floors to its larger cousins ​​such as the Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocops major) or the Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis).

Autumn, strawberry season…

Yes, you read correctly ! It is in autumn that the fruits of the strawberry tree are ready to be tasted. The strawberry tree! But what do you get? It's just the other name ofArbutus unedo (Arbutus unedo) which bears many shrubs and not strawberries… It is actually a shrub, very useful in this season since it provides cover for frugivorous and omnivorous animals. Those who observe it for the first time, are surprised to note on the branches the simultaneous presence of flowers and fruits… The answer to this mystery is after all quite simple, the flowers are of the year and the fruits of the past one. . It takes them a year to fully develop. So why strawberry tree? To explain this let's look at another continent: Asia. There is a fruit there called Chinese strawberry that looks, except in color, very much to our Mediterranean arbutus.