Monday, 23 August 2010

A Mystery Nest in the Wild Oregano

Wild Oregano Origanum vulgare (or l'origan in French) is in full flower in August. I spotted a particulary nice patch in the field next to our orchard. Getting there to photograph it involved scaling the roadside ditch and bank. Once I got close I noticed a neat oval of grass - not a nest, but presumably a comfy hidden bed for some creature. Was it a mammal or a bird? It was about 20cm wide by 25cm long and I would be most interested to learn what made it.

Enjoying the oregano was the day flying noctuid moth the Four-spotted Tyta luctuosa (la Noctuelle en deuil in French). This species is abundant here and I am, somewhat reluctantly it has to be said, growing substantial quantities of its larval foodplant, Field Bindweed Convolvulus arvensis (or le liseron des champs in French), in the potager.

Also present was one of my favourite butterflies, Lady Glanville's Fritillary.


Susan

7 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Great shots, I would also love to know what curled up or sat in the cute little nest. Diane

Autolycus said...

If it were in Britain, I might have thought a skylark......?

Tim said...

Susan,
possibly a cat/kitten... my first cat used to make these in the flowerbed [and then the wild area which was more preferable to my first wife and I as we kept the flowerbeds looking mor presentable.]
It was, however, her demise once the field at the back of our house returned to being a hayfield. She got 'swiped'!

Diogenes said...

Beautiful pictures, especially the Lady Glanville butterfly.

SweetpeainFrance said...

A hare?

Susan said...

Sweetpea: I wondered if it was a hare too, but when I looked at hare scrape pictures they didn't look neat enough.

Diogenes: many thanks :-)

Tim: yes, I think this is the answer. It was one of the possibilities in my mind. It seems to be a bed a (cat-sized) mammal has created by turning round on the spot a few times before curling up on the ground. There is no fur or nest materials, so my conclusion is that it was used for an afternoon nap or possibly for a single night. In this place it could be a domestic or feral cat.

Auty: Skylarks are common here, but I haven't noticed them over this field (I don't know why, as it seems like their sort of habitat - perhaps too close to too many cats?) Also there is no nest material and it seems rather large for a skylark.

Diane: Thanks. It seems the answer is probably a domestic cat.

Anonymous said...

Lady's Glanville's fritillary - what a sight for sore eyes, I love it thankyou