Thursday, 29 April 2010

River Orb, Hérépian

River Orb, Hérépian
The riverside trees are all leafing up now. The river is still flowing well after our long and wetter than normal winter.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 17mm, 1/320s @ f/7.1)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Tour Romane, Puissalicon

La Tour Romane, Puissalicon
This tower in a cemetery near Puissalicon was built in the XIc. It was built to stand alone and is 28m tall. A XIIc church was built against the tower which was used as its bell-tower. The church was destroyed during the wars of religion.The tower is decorated with "Lombard Bands" (the blind arches above the windows) and with black volcanic rock picking out some of the detail. The tower is an important piece of medieval Romanesque architecture.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm lens @ 17mm, 1/640s @ f/7.1)

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Pasque Flower

Pasque Flower Pulsatilla vulgaris
The Pasque Flower is a beautiful plant found on the high limestone plateaux of the Causses in Hérault and Aveyron. It is so called because it begins flowering around Easter time. This photo was taken on the Plateau de Guilhaumard.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm lens @ 48mm, 1/250s @ f/7.1)

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Green Tiger Beetles

Green Tiger Beetles
Green Tiger Beetles (Cicindela campestris) doing what comes naturally near the River Mare. Both adults and larvae are voracious predators of other insects, especially ants. The larvae construct burrows where they lurk and pounce out on passing prey.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Lamalou from Les Orgues de Taussac

View from Les Orgues
Button gets in on the act as I take my photo of Lamalou-les-Bains from the top of Les Orgues de Taussac.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 36mm, 1/100s @ f/6.3)

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Bee on Rosemary

Bee on Rosemary
Rosemary is one of the many aromatic herbs growing wild on the garrigue in this region. Here, a bee is collecting pollen and nectar from the flowers.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm lens @ 70mm, ISO 800, 1/100s, f/14)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Pont-canal de l'Orb, Béziers

Pont-canal de l'Orb
The Pont-canal de l'Orb carries the Canal du Midi over the River Orb in Béziers. It was built between 1854 and 1858 to avoid the earlier route via the now disused Nôtre-Dame lock and the River Orb itself. This earlier route was often the cause of serious delays (in 1779 floods prevented the crossing for 17 days). The aqueduct is 240m long and beautifully constructed with a broad walkway on either side, nowadays used by pedestrians and cyclists but formerly as a towpath.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Processionary Moth Caterpillars

Processionary Moth Caterpillars 
Spring is the time of year when these caterpillars are readily noticed and potentially become a nuisance to people and animals. The caterpillars "nest" in web like tents in pine trees. At night they leave the nests and feed on the pine needles, often doing severe damage in coniferous plantations. In the spring they leave the nest, descending to the ground where they move in long "trains" sometimes tens of metres long, to find somewhere to pupate in the soil. The hairs are highly irritant and can cause skin rashes in humans and serious problems for dogs who may sniff or lick them resulting in potential breathing problems and soft tissue damage. This photo taken in the Forêt des Écrivains Combattants near Lamalou.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Étang de Montady

Étang de Montady
The Étang de Montady is an amazing wheel-like arrangement of fields West of Béziers. It was formed in the XIIIc by draining a stagnant marsh  by building a series of radial ditches all leading to a central sump and from there into an underwater aqueduct which led the surface water away for over a kilometre to the South. The drainage system is still functioning today and the radial appearance of the fields is very obvious. You can see an aerial photo in Google Maps here.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 23mm, 1/640s @  f/5.6, series of 6 portrait format photos stitched in Canon Photostitch)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


It's a Hard Life ...
Relaxing with a beer in Collioure. A beautiful sunny day today but still quite cool. The building in the background is the Church and belltower (formerly a lighthouse) at Collioure.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Starry Night

"The Plough or the Big Dipper", Ursa Major
Last night I decided to have a try at some night sky photos. They worked reasonably well and I'll be doing some more in future. This was taken from our terrace and was in this orientation last night.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm lens @ 17mm, 15s @ f/3.2 ISO400)

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Les Falaises d'Orque

Les Falaises d'Orque
These impressive cliffs mark the edge of the plateau of the Grands Causses. The valley of the river Mare begins here separating the Grands Causses Natural Park from the Espinouse and Caroux massifs of the Haut Languedoc Natural Park. The mountain behind the cliffs is Marcou (1093m) which is topped with a huge cross made of iron girders.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 57mm, 1/500s @ f/7.1)

Friday, 9 April 2010

Early Spider Orchid

Early Spider Orchid, Ophrys sphegodes
Mostyn, Button and I walked near Boubals this morning and found many Early Spider Orchids in flower. We have found lots of different orchids on this walk in the past but this was the only species to be seen today.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Jonquil at Faugères

Jonquil, Narcissus jonquilla
The Common Jonquil are now in flower on the garrigue. They are a little late this year, but everything is behind because of the poor weather.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm, f/9 @ 1/200s, flash)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Salagou Blossom

Old fruit tree in the Salagou Valley
This old fruit tree stands alone in a small field close to the road leading into the Salagou Valley. A copy of this photo hangs, framed, above my desk.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Roman Bridge, St-Thibéry

Roman Bridge and XIIIc mill
The Roman Bridge at St-Thibéry actually dates from the Middle Ages. It replaced a truly Roman bridge which carried the Via Domitia over the River Hérault at this point. Only four of the original nine arches remain. The others were destroyed in the XIXc by severe floods. The flour mill dates from the XIIIc. It was the property of a Benedictine abbey.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm lens @ 17mm, 1/400s @  f/9, two photos stitched in Canon Photostitch)

Monday, 5 April 2010

Grau d'Agde and Canigou

Grau d'Agde river entrance with Canigou behind
A sunny, springlike day at last tempted us out for a drive down to the Mediterranean. Grau d'Agde is situated at the mouth of the River Hérault and is a pleasant small resort with lots of restaurants. The entrance to the river is marked by two lighthouse-like beacons to help guide in the many fishing boats based here. In the background, some 120Kms away is the snow covered Pic du Cangou, an outlier of the Pyrenees.
(Canon EOS450D, 55-250mm IS lens @ 250mm, polariser)

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Mercoirol, Spring evening

Mercoirol from our home
The chapel of St-Michel and the ruins of the Château de Mercoirol in evening sunshine taken from our home in Lamalou-les-Bains. A bit of a contrast to the entry of Mercoirol in the snow from a couple of weeks ago!
(Canon EOS450D, Canon 55-250mm IS lens)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Dolmen de Ferrussac

Grand Dolmen de Ferrussac
This neolithic burial chamber, situated near La Vacquerie, is the largest dolmen on the Causses de Larzac. The capstone weighs more than 13 tonnes. When excavated in the 1960s the remains of over 60 individual skeletons were found. The dolmen is near to a minor road that follows the route of an old Roman road linking Le Vigan and Lodève. Several other dolmens and menhirs are located nearby.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm lens @ f/6.3, 1/2000s)
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