Gretchen Markle

Travel Blog

(posted on 11 Jan 2017)

Mazerolles consists of a few dozen farmhouses scattered on the hillside near the church. Here's another rather pathetic watercolour, but at least it gives you an idea of the village:

Looking Southwest

This being France, we had expected to find good wine, bread and coffee. And France has not disappointed! One thing we hadn't expected was the amount of wildlife. Every day on our walks, we see much to amaze us.

This is the land of the raptor. There are kites, large raptors with forked tails, that can hover over the fields as they stalk their prey. The one we see most is the Red Kite, Milvus milvus. There are buteos, known locally as buzzards, with large bodies, large wings and rounded tails. We see several Common Buzzards, Buteo buteo, on every walk. There are also sleek harriers such as the Hen-Harrier, Circus cyaneus, and falcons such as the Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus.

And what are they hunting? Well, there are lots of House Sparrows, Passer domesticus, (they belong here!), as well as Blue Tits, Parus caeruleus, Great Tits, Parus major, and miscellaneous LLBs (Little Brown Birds). On a slightly larger scale, there are all kinds of pigeons - The elegant Collared Doves, Streptopelia decaocto, the common, everyday Rock Doves, Columba livia, and, most astonishingly, literally thousands of Woodpigeons, Columba palumbus, locally known as Palombes. These occur in huge, dense flocks like murmurations of starlings, and are a wonder to watch as they swirl and twist in balletic patterns across the sky. I could watch them for hours.


This area of France is very tiddly. There are recycling depots in every tiny village, and there is no rubbish anywhere along the roads or in town - quite a change from Wales, which was a great disappointment. It reminded us of Nova Scotia, where the roadsides are strewn with litter. Perhaps it's indicative of the state of the local economy, where the population has little or no hope and consequently takes no pride in their surroundings. The French, on the other hand, are very proud of their country and heritage, and beware anyone who dares to litter. (Mind you, this injunction does not apply to dog poop... Strange.)