Tuesday, 29 June 2010


The village of Roquebrun sits nestled by hills on the banks of the river Orb. Roquebrun has its own microclimate which consistently makes it the warmest place in Hérault. Temperatures here are usually 2 or 3 degrees higher than surrounding villages and often top 40°C in summer.
(Canon EOS 450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 70mm, 1/640s @ f/7.1)

Monday, 28 June 2010

Thunderhead over Capimont

Thunderhead over Capimont
After several days of hot weather (mid 30s Celsius), we are shaping for thunderstorms this afternoon! This photo was taken from our garden.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 20mm, 1/1600s @ f/7.1)

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Two-tailed Pasha

Two-tailed Pasha Charaxes jasius
Two-tailed Pashas are beginning to appear now. This is one of the most beautiful butterflies to be found around here. This photo was taken today at the Barrage des Olivettes.
(Canon EOS350D, Canon 55-250IS @ 250mm, 1/400s @ f/8.0)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Pont de Vialais

Bridge over the Vialais stream
We went for a nice walk today from the village of Douch, down into the Vialais valley and upstream as far as this bridge. We returned by the ridge of Serre d'Arêt in bright sunshine. On the walk we saw several vultures, visiting from the Tarn Gorges.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70 @ 25mm,1/60s @ f/4)

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Canal du Midi

Péniche on the Canal du Midi
The Canal du Midi, here pictured near Colombiers, is now a popular holiday boating venue. Boats range from small day boats up to these large, converted working barges called péniches. The canal links the Mediterranean town of Sète with Toulouse and on via the Canal de Garonne to the Atlantic. Very little commercial traffic now uses the canal which was opened in 1681. The Canal du Midi was the brainchild and major engineering work of Pierre-Paul Riquet of Béziers.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Vialais Valley, Espinouse

Vialais Valley and Le Roc Fourcat
The Vialais Valley in the Espinouse mountains is part of the Mouflon reserve mentioned on yesterday's post. The split rock in the background is Le Roc Fourcat. The stream flowing through this valley feeds that flowing through the Gorges d'Héric. This is a wonderful walking area.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70 @ 36.0mm, 1/500s @ f/5.6)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Mouflon on Le Caroux

Mouflon on Le Caroux
The Mouflon, or Corsican Wild Sheep, was reintroduced to this part of France in 1956. A few pairs were brought from a population in Bouches-du-Rhône and they did well. Numbers gradually increased in the reserve on the Caroux-Espinouse massif and today they number in the thousands. I have seen them quite regularly on Le Caroux and in the surrounding hills and valleys but they are quite shy and most often one just sees them disappearing into the forest or down the steep slopes!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Provençal Fritillary

Provençal Fritillary Mellicta deione
On a sunny day there are many different butterflies to be found in the area. This is one I saw today in the Forêt des Écrivains-combattants.
(Canon EOS450D, Tamron SP90mm Macro, 1/100s @ f5.6)

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Round-leaved Birthwort

Round-leaved Birthwort Aristolochia rotunda
This strange plant is not uncommon in grassy areas at woodland edges in this area. The brown flag-like hood probably protects the tubular flower from waterlogging. A alternative name for the plant is Smearwort - it was used in the past for making poultices to help heal sores.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70 @ 44mm, 1/250s @  f/8)

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Blue-eyed Hooktail Dragonfly

Blue-eyed Hooktail Onychogomphus uncatus
This is quite a common dragonfly in this region during the summer. The photo was taken on the Verdus stream in St-Guilhem-le-Désert. The dragonfly has adopted the "obelisk" position, aligning its body towards the sun to decrease the amount of heat absorbed and prevent it getting too hot.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 70mm, 1/640s @  f/8)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Roses in the rain

It's a drizzly day here in Lamalou but it does have the advantage of making the roses in the garden look lovely!
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 21.0mm, 1/160s @ f/5.6)

Monday, 7 June 2010

Southern Smooth Snake

Southern Smooth Snake Coronella girondica
This evening, we found this snake near our gate. It is about 40-50cm long and as thick as my middle finger. The stripe running from neck to eye and forming a "bridle" across the nose, the round pupilled eyes and the keel-less,smooth scales help in identification. This snake is non-venomous and quite common in Mediterranean regions.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 53mm, 1/200s @ f/8.0, flash)

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Perched Boulder, Gorges de Colombières

Perched Boulder
This perched boulder is a conspicuous feature while walking the path above the Gorges de Colombières, The buttress of rock in the background is called "Le Bastion".
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 48.0mm, 1/1000s @ f/8.0)

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Cloister, St-Guilhem-le-Désert

Cloister of the Abbaye de Gellone
The cloister of the Abbaye de Gellone in St-Guilhem-le-Désert can be a peaceful place to escape the crowds in this beautiful village in the Gorges d'Hérault. The village and abbey were founded by Guillaume le Grand, Prince d'Orange in 804 AD. The cloister was built in the XIc and had superb carvings until they were sold to the Cloisters Museum in Manhattan!
Behind the buildings, on the skyline can be seen some of the remains of the XI-XIIc Château de Verdus, which always reminds me of Amon Sûl (Weathertop) in Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings".
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm lens @ 17.0mm, 1/320s @ f/8.0)

Friday, 4 June 2010

Gorges de Colombières

Gorges de Colombières
Following on from yesterday's entry, here is a view of the Gorges de Colombières from the path above and to the East.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 28.0mm, 1/500s @ f/8.0)

Thursday, 3 June 2010

La Fage

La Fage
This small group of houses in the Gorges de Colombières is what is left of a small hamlet. The buildings are now used as a Gîte d'Étape for walkers on the GR7 long distance footpath and for small visiting groups of walkers and climbers. The Gorges de Colombières is a spectacular wild gorge on the Eastern flank of the Le Caroux mountain and is one of my favourite walking venues.
(Canon 450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 36mm, 1/320s @ f/8.0)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Poppies 3

Un Coquelicot
The last in this short series of poppy photos from a field near Hérépian.
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