Midi-Pyrénées North
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With a life's experience of teaching field studies in the Forest of Dean, Brian Cave explores the ecology of rural France. More Info

Blog For Us

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An English Naturalist in France

An English Naturalist in France

Leaf Cutting Bee nests

October 19, 2015 by Brian Cave

     My daughter was cleaning out the polytunnel before winter comes upon us. She uses the polytunnel for growing on seedlings for the small flower business which she runs. Beneath… Read more…

Categories: Bees, Insects, Leaf cutting, Trees

An impressive Lichen

August 10, 2015 by Brian Cave

    There had been a heavy rainstorm with serious wind overnight.  That August 8th the trees were in full leaf.  Branches were hanging heavy with walnut fruits. I  imagined… Read more…

Categories: Lichens, Trees

Ants with yellow spots

June 14, 2015 by Brian Cave

  The  ants fall from the walnut tree onto the table below.  They are all so small that you cannot make out any detailed structure.  Under the binocular microscope that… Read more…

Categories: Ants, Trees


May 24, 2015 by Brian Cave

  There are 32 species of broomrape listed in the new work on the flora of  France (Flora Gallica by Tison & Foucault). There are 26 in the older Flora… Read more…

Categories: Orobanche, Wild Plants

Bee and Woodcock orchids

May 21, 2015 by Brian Cave

 These two orchids are common enough in our area (40 km north of Cahors).  A is the Woodcock (Ophrys scolopax) and B is the Bee (Ophrys apifera).  [scolopax is the… Read more…

Categories: Orchid Ophrys, Wild Plants

Some thoughts on caterpillars

April 27, 2015 by Brian Cave

     This caterpillar was photographed on April 26th chewing happily on a leaf of the common plantain (Plantago lanceolata), growing in a pasture  in South Central France.   It is… Read more…

Why do some toadstools smell?

December 22, 2014 by Brian Cave

For more than twenty years this toadstool (see top photo)  has avoided my attention.  Yesterday – the day of the winter solstice December 21st I found it.  Dozens of small… Read more…

Categories: Fungi, Toadstools, Wax-caps

Bye Bye Garden Geraniums?

November 4, 2014 by Brian Cave

       This  butterfly discovered by my daughter on one of her Geraniums (Perlagoniums) was unknown to her or myself.          At first we mistook it for a long tailed blue…. Read more…

The Strawberry tree – Arbutus unedo

October 25, 2014 by Brian Cave

I felt sure for several years that they were strawberry trees,  but until they flowered and fruited there was always an uncertainty.   Here to the left is the proof.  Why… Read more…

Paralysed crickets

October 20, 2014 by Brian Cave

  In this  drainage groove of a bedroom window, crafted to take away rain water which may have run down the window pane, are fifty seven bodies of  crickets.  None… Read more…