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October 2007 

Sorry not yet translated ,translation in progress.

8 October

Canada geese at bath.

On plonge

One dives.


Flip on the back for the goose in the middle.

And hop, I turn! In the end, you judder well.



Distinctive feature: black neck and white "chinstrap".


Give way, I come.


Probably some are at the end of moulting an exhibit a curious plumage. Partially white head and eyes ringed white.



[Branta canadensis. Canada goose.]

Originally from North America they where introduced in Europe (as soon as the 17th century in the UK) as ornamental bird ... and obviously, they feel quite well.

About one hundred Canada geese together.


Parc de Chamarande (Essonne-France)


10 October



European goldfinch.
[Carduelis carduelis. Passerifomes. Fingilidea.]
The red mask of his face is typical, as well as the yellow of the edge of its wings. The species is protected.

Parc de Chamarande (Essonne) 8 October 2007


In the same park as that of geese, two "goldfinch trees".

At the beginning of August they gather seeking the proximity to a water pond where they like to bath.
Two gangs of a score of birds chirp in chorus, perched high (they like to be at the extremity of branches) in the trees. They were quite difficult to photograph (too far) and the picture quality suffers. Granivorous, it feeds on seeds of herbaceous plants, seeds birch. As its name indicates, its beak is sharp enough to go dislodge the seeds of burdock and thistles that he loves.
It is a partly migratory bird.

              de la coccinelle                                                                                                                                                                                                          

16 October


The balcony is gradually taking its fall aspect. The orchids, having spent the summer outside, already show their flower stalks and have returned to the home warmth. The paphiopedilums and cymbidiums benefit still for some days of the freshness of nights.

I removed the impatiens which reach 1.5 meter high at the end of the season and the terrace seems bigger. The big fall cleanup is underway. I will soon plant the fall bulbs even if since a few years I planed to delay planting because weather is less cold and they start too early.


Magnificent sunshine this morning, as yesterday, without fog. The couple of small blues is on visit and shows keen interest in the nest box. She passes the head through the entrance and she starts pecking the edge of the entrance hole. Already? No photo, I did not want to intrude too closely. Silent during the summer, they start to sing perched on birch.

The couple of great tits passes every day since the sunflower seeds are supplied. She enters without difficulty, but he has some difficulties to pass the belly.


Oops! Definitely, it will be necessary for me to do a little diet.

Usually blackbirds come to eat the berries from the vine a little later in the season, this year the sparrows pre-empted them and have already begun. This is the first time I see them eat the grapes.

The blackbirds regroup, six of them in the bottom garden.



Fall cleaning has disturbed these newcomers to the balcony, hidden under a pot.

It is probably one Oxychilus, earth gastropod, zonitidae family ( "glass snails"), a wetlands snail. It has a dark blue body and a flat shell, translucent, fine, and brilliant, a little clearer in the underside, of 10mm, 4 whorls (but this should depend on the age (?)).

Some members of the family smell... garlic. This is not the case for those ones. Some have a vegetarian and carnivorous diet. Carnivores, they can aggress their congeners; some are troglophiles and digest even insects.



17 October


It is colder at night; the vines blush and turn to the dark red of the anthocyanin. This replaces the natural pigment chlorophyll and goes from red to blue, the same that colours grapes, blueberries, cherries ...

This fall many trees have exceptional colour. The colour of the leaves depends on the acidity (for red, which is not at the cells but in the sap of the leaf, the more acidic is the sap the most red is the leaf, the less it is the more it is purple), but also on the temperature (cold but not frost) and on the rain (best colour in dry weather).
Hot days and cold nights favours these beautiful colours.



The balcony would have become a haven for snails?

This one has the aspect of a garden snail [or Helix aspersa, Cornu aspersum] (?). I found it hidden in a pot of orchids (no, I am not willing to breed them, it happens sometimes that I rant against the nibbling of the flower buds, the most tender parts in an orchid!)


The ladybugs seek a shelter for the winter.

Harmonia axyridisThis one which sought refuge at home is an Asian lady beetle imported from China.Larve [Harmonia axyridis] and not the "lady beetle" of the family Coccinellidae.
She has so well acclimatized that it has become dominant and replaces "our" indigenous ladybugs.


For more information:  the website l'Observatoire pour le suivi de la coccinelle asiatique en France  of Vincent Ternois  and report their presence.

And the Coccinelle asiatique of the OPIE.


22 October

Cold, very cold the past few days, 5°C in the morning.


The birch is gold. Its catkins (strobile) will remain all winter and the tiny two winged nuts that are the seeds (nutlets), are a delicacy for our visitors.

Graine de bouleau




The spring bulbs are planted. Usually I plant the bulbs in large pots, a layer of daffodils and tulips, crocuses and grape hyacinths, and I plant on top of them, heather and cyclamen, who spend all winter over the bulbs. I transplant them in the spring, when the bulbs start to sprout. Winters are less cold now and the shoots of bulbs raise the plants placed over them too early. So, this year, I planted the bulbs alone. The winter plants are in small pots placed over the bulb pots. As I worked on my plants, two great tits "teet-teeted" against me. Eventually, after a few minutes, they came and helped themselves to the sunflower seeds just beside me.



                                A sparrow boasts a pretty cream necklace.


And this young female appreciates the pear.

Sparrows and tits are dependable but we have not seen anew any greenfinch.


Passiflore fruit

The Blue Passion Flower [Passiflora caerulea] has made several fruits, but only this one has hold and grown. It yellows slowly. Its fruits are edible but tasteless.




25 October

Autumn bays.


With its pulp soft, sweet and slightly acid: rose hip (also rose haw) (false) fruit of the rose-bush and the Dog Rose. Slough of its seeds (the real fruits: achenes) and scratching his hair (it is also called 'gratte-cul'), it is edible as jam, syrups, liqueurs. The rosehips become soft after several frosts. Rosa canina, the dog rose, is the most common. "Rose dogs" comes from the anti-rabid property formerly attributed to its roots. There are many rose dogs. Let's cite the villosa (hairy rose), gallica, rubiginosa (rusty rose), sempervirens, rugosa. Some birds consume rosehips, but I have never seen so far, birds eating them on the terrace.

RaisinsRaisins vigne vierge

Appetizing grapes of Japanese creeper, which are often peeked by birds. For us, they are toxic.

[Parthenocissus tricuspidata 'Veitchii']


27 October

Small "bugs".

Ver de terre

After my second winter bulb and flower planting, the soil well mellowed with potting soil attracted a blackbirds which scraped with good heart all the pots, unearthing even some bulbs, projecting anywhere on earth, to find their favourite greediness, plump earthworms. I hope he will give left me some of them, I too like them well but to stay in the pots and aerate the soil.



Common animals of the terrace, woodlice. They are found in the pots, pieces of wood and sometimes at home when I take in, inadvertently in the autumn, a plant that has spent the summer outside! But they do not like the dry home atmosphere.

Ill loved, they teem in dark and damp places. They do really hate light, and as soon as discovered they quickly disappear into the soil. These ones were under a pot and we had to hurry to take the photo before their disappearance.

They are not insects but crustaceans. They have seven pairs of legs (3 for insects). At the back are five pairs of appendages (swimmerets or pleopods) acting as "gills" capturing oxygen under a thin film of water in the species of woodlice living in very humid habitats. Some, more sophisticated and better adapted to terrestrial life, have gills with a kind of "lungs" (pseudo-trachea) that receives oxygen directly from the air. Water is an essential element for woodlice.

The woodlice feed only on decomposing material, they are detritivore (detritus feeders) and I leave them willingly, as for earthworms, live their life in my pots. The eggs hatch in a moist pocket (marsupium). Youngsters have then 6 pairs of legs, they will have their seventh in the first moult.



Those that we have here seem to be "Porcellio scaber", or rough woolouse of 1 to 1.5 cm. The male is steel-grey, the female is more beige. They have small bumps on the body (rough) and do not roll into a ball when threatened.

Common rough woodlouse or simply rough woodlouse.
[Class Crustaceans, spur arthropod, class of Malacostraca, order of Isopoda, suborder Oniscidea]


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