Monday, 31 May 2010

Poppies 2

Poppies near Hérépian
Another photo of the poppies near Hérépian.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Poppies 1

Poppies 
One of the fields near Hérépian is full of poppies at the moment. Here is the first of a series of photos of them.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 57mm, 1/100s @ f/16 Iso200)

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Orange White-legged Damselfly

Orange White-legged Damselfly Platycnemis acutipennis
There are still remarkably few dragonflies and damselflies about here despite the warm sunny weather of the last week. Orange White-legged Damselflies are around in some numbers though. This fairly newly emerged male was photographed near the River Orb at Hérépian today.
(Canon EOS450D, Tamron SP90mm, 1/200s @  f/8.0, ISO400)

Friday, 28 May 2010

Deserted Hamlet

La Salle
While walking today, Mostyn and I passed through the near deserted hamlet of la Salle in the hills above Olargues. One of the buildings here has a sign indicating it is a clubhouse of the Speleo Club of Béziers (caving) but there was no evidence of nearby caves on the map.
(Panasonic Lumix FX07)

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Large Red Damselfly

Male Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula
Dragonflies and damselflies seem as late as ever this year despite the recent hot dry weather. I was only able to find 4 species today including this male Large Red Damselfly on the stream near le Mas Blanc.
(Canon EOS450D, Canon 55-250mm IS lens @ 250mm, 1/125s @ f/8.0)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Vieussan at Dusk

Vieussan with Le Caroux behind
This photo was taken at 9:45 this evening. Lights have just gone on in the village of Vieussan. The floodlit building is the remains of the old château. The outline of Le Caroux and the Gorges d'Héric are in the background.
(Canon EOS450D, Tripod, Sigma 17-70mm @23mm, ISO200 f/5.6, HDR composite of 3 exposures)

Monday, 24 May 2010

La Fraïsse

La Fraïsse
The tiny village of La Fraïsse nestles in the forest on the hillside above Lamalou.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Lamalou doorway

Doorway to the old Spa
 This highly ornamented doorway was once the main entrance to an imposing building in Lamalou-le-Haut. The building is now a rehabilitation and physiotherapy centre. I believe that the building was built in the 19th century as the main spa building. This function has now moved down into the main part of Lamalou-les-Bains.

(Canon EOS450D, Canon 55-250mm lens @ 55mm, 1/250s @ f/7.1)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Spanish Broom

Close-up of single flower of Spanish Broom
The hillsides and garrigue are beginning to shine with the bright yellow of the Broom. Spanish Broom (Spartium junceum) is one of the common species in flower around here.
(Canon EOS450D, Canon 55-250mm lens @ 250mm, 1/160s @ f/7.1)

Monday, 17 May 2010

Occitan Folk Music

Folk musicians at an Occitan Festival
Last week there was a Occitan folk festival in the nearby villages of le Pujol-sur-Orb, Colombières-sur-Orb,  Vieussan and Olargues ("Mai que Mai"). Our choir sang some Occitan songs to entertain people on a "randonée". These two musicians were present too. They are playing a "Vielle à roue" (Hurdy-gurdy) and a "Hautbois".

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Lamalou from the North-East

Lamalou-les-Bains and surrounding villages
This photo shows the landscape around Lamalou-les-Bains. From left to right are Lamalou-les-Bains, Lamalou-le-Vieux, Villecelle and le Fraïsse (on the hillside). The photo was taken from the small hill of la Vayrasse to the North-east.
Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @17mm, 1/320s @ f/8.0, 2 photos stitched in Photostitch)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Lac du Salagou

Dead tree, Lac du Salagou
Much nicer weather than forecast tempted us out to the Lac du Salagou, one of our favourite locations.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 17mm, 1/650s @ f/8.0)

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Orchids in Spring

Yellow Orchid Ophrys lutea
May and June are the best months for Orchids in Southern France. Despite the cold weather at the moment, Mostyn and I saw several species yesterday while out walking near Villespassans. Yellow Orchids were common along one of the tracks and we also saw Early Purple Orchid, Early Spider Orchid, Lady Orchid, Pyramidal Orchid and Narrow-leaved Helleborine.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Montpellier snake

Montpellier snake Malpolon monspessulanus
This is probably the commonest snake in the region, this photo taken in Hérépian. The Montpellier snake (Coulevre de Montpellier in French) is a member of the family of snakes known as "back-fang vipers". The poison fangs are at the back of the jaws and the snake needs to get a very good hold before it can use them. Consequently it isn't dangerous to humans (unless one tries to stick ones hand down its throat!). This individual is fully grown and measures close to 2 metres long. Sorry for the blur - it saw me just before I pressed the shutter and slid quickly away under cover!
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 70mm, 1/200s @ f/7.1)

Saturday, 1 May 2010

May Day

Lily of the Valley
In France on May Day it is customary to give a gift of Lily-of-the-Valley (Muguet) to one's friends and loved ones. This custom originated with King Charles IX of France who was presented with lily of the valley flowers on May 1, 1561. He liked the gift and decided to present lily of the valley flowers to the ladies of his court each year on May 1. Around 1900, men started to present a bouquet of lily of the valley flowers to women to express their affection.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 30mm, 1/85s @ f/7.1)
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