LocmariaquerWe spent the last 8 days at friend Arthurs typical french stone farmhouse situated some 10 miles south of Pontivy in the beautiful Blavet valley. The old house is surrounded by agricultural fields usually growing maize which is used for animal feed and the stubble left this time of year attracts hundreds of finches, buntings and thrushes. While I was there this time I decided to make an owl box out of the numerous peices of oak lying around. It took me 3 days to make and because there was only a 200 year old 10 foot oak ladder weighing a ton I couldn't get the box up any tree so it ended up in the roof of the woodshed, don't know if anything will use it, wasps or bees I expect. Anyway while clearing up the garden we uncovered a Fire Salamander under some damp leaves, an amazing looking creature, very slow moving with an unusual lifestile. We spent some of the days on the south Brittany coast which is somewhat like the west country and has similar birds like Black Redstarts, Cirl Buntings, Buzzards and Ravens ect: The Golfe Du Morbihan is a fantastic area for birds, lots of little creeks and marshes with a number of reserves where they have an important ringing program. Out on the Briny there are plenty of small islands some of which you can stay on. On sunday 20th feb we went to Locmariaquer, after having some moules frites with a few glasses of plonk for lunch we went for a walk along the shore. We got quite a shock when we got down there, because it was a very low tide half the local french population were there collecting shellfish from among the rocks. Despite all this at a usually quiet place there was still plenty about. Quite a few Med Gulls were swimming around with a good number of Brent Geese. On another day, at Larmor- plage I found the Black Redstarts where I had seen them other years, feeding around the old concrete gun enplacements. The weather all week was overcast except for a couple of days but there was not a lot of rain. Mais, On y s'muse toujours.