Pyrenees Sunset

Pyrenees Sunset
An August evening in the French Pyrenees at sunset

Thursday, 20 January 2011

A look back at May 2010


Spent the afternoon walking and taking photos on the Plateau de BĂ©nou. Lovely and warm - 20-25° the cicadas were really noisy - managed to get some shots of them, I hadn't realised quite how large they were! If you stepped too close, they would dive straight back into their little burrows, which were all over the grassy areas.

As we walked along there were buzzards, vultures and red kites thermalling and swooping overhead. There were several varieties of small butterflies flitting about. Coming back down to the plateau there were some ponies with foals which were leaping and galloping about. We then walked along a tree-lined track and there were several clumps of bright purple orchids growing on the banks at the side


Pierre St Martin. Snow, alpines and sunshine. Clouds forming - none at all in a completely blue sky, then wisps then white puffy forms, then dissipating and more forming - absolutely amazing! First alpines coming through the snow: green christmas roses style ones, starry blue ones, deep pink ones. Also right up the top there were a few dog tooth lilies starting to emerge - mostly just the leaves visible, but some flowers too, although they looked as though they had been trodden on by the cattle or sheep that had been up there. 


Lac d'Ayous - Long walk through trees and uphill over stony ground (approx 8 miles there and back). Lots of alpines - edelweiss, yellow cowslips, deep purply-red and also yellow orchid. Also gentian blue trumpets and white buttercups and marsh buttercups as it's so marshy. Incredible amount of water gushing down the hillside from the snow melt running over the paths and making streams across the grassland areas. The reservoir was quite empty as the water was rushing out as fast as it was coming in - terrific noise of water everywhere. Amazing scenery with the Pic du Midi d'Ossau in the background and a whole string of other peaks going east off into the distance. Strange tree forms, some by weathering, others with growths and my Spirits of the Wood tree which had been struck by lightning.  Surprisingly few birds given the number of trees and not really any other wildlife apart from the flowers

May 2010

At long last, i've finally got around to starting a blog. I just wanted to give people a feel for what it's like in the Pyrenees and the sort of things that can be seen and photographed at particular times of the year. 

It seems that the last fortnight has been particularly wet and cool for this time of year, but now spring is really hotting up towards summer. The weather today has been mostly sunny with temps up to 25, but there is still quite a lot of snow up on the mountains

Caught a fleeting glimpse of a red spotted woodpecker around lunchtime, but it flew off before I could turn my camera on it!

Walking in the meadow there were clumps of Ragged Robin out round the edges of the field. Some of the figs have already got fruit and, surprisingly, they are starting to colour. There were also lots of really loud cicadas - not sure whether they were just very glad that the sun was shining, or what.

A Swallowtail butterfly was darting around the top of the kiwi, far too fast to capture!  But I did manage to get a shot of a Painted Lady on some alium flowers.
Black Redstarts were flitting about in the plum and kiwi trees and the buzzards were calling across the other side of the valley. Lovely to see the cows sauntering along the lane beside the stream on their way to the grazing pasture and then home again for milking in the mellow evening sunshine.