- Fauna and Flora
Fauna and Flora
Wildlife and Flora
This beautiful region was not named green Beaujolais: "Beaujolais Vert" for nothing! Above the vines, from an altitude of 500m, there is a rich and preserved natural environment. Come and discover some of its secrets.
In the deep, evergreen forests of conifers, you may catch a glimpse of the silhouette of thered crossbill or of the European black woodpecker. We are fortunate to have this bird in our mountains. They dig deep holes in the old trees to make their nests. The following year these holes become home to the very rareboreal owl, resident of our area which is on the outskirts of its geographical range. But if you listen carefully on wintry nights, you are more likely to hear the deep song of theeurasian eagle-owl.
In any case, you will discover a wide biodiversity in the leafy forests. For example, you will see foxgloveseverywhere - a large flower with tubes growing on the edge of the forest, along with rosebay willowherb and common broom. But be careful, some are poisonous, like the superb columbine, or the more discreet wolfsbane, which is sometimes used to make poisonous bait for our last big carnivore...
And if you look carefully you may be able to inspect the fresh footprint of a wild boar or if you are very quiet, even cross paths with a roe deer or an alertsquirrel...
Lastly, for lovers of autumn walks, there is an abundance of mushrooms, chestnuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts if you know where to look.
The forests cover the summits and ridges, giving way to sunlit groves in the valleys, modelled by man for farming. In this open countryside there are cows and goats in pastures surrounded by hedges. These reassuring animals are an integral part of our landscape. Here, the wildlife and flora are different to those in the forest. Listen out for the polyphonic song of the small passerines such as the lark, buntings, and the chaffinch. Or maybe even the gentle "hoopoopoop!" of the hoopoe which sings its own name. Birds of prey like the buzzardor the Montagu's harrier fly across open areas searching for prey.
Many birds hide in the hedges, searching for food or nesting, like the warbler, thelong-tailed tit, bullfinch, and even the red-backed shrike which impales its prey! These hedges are complete sources of biodiversity with many different functions. Mammals and reptiles follow their path to avoid being seen.
And finally, for even more beauty and pleasure, there are many magnificent butterflies in these natural fields, with their richly brocaded colours such as the peacock butterfly, the painted lady, and the comma. The day-time butterflies are prey to the birds, but the downy moths are part of the bat food chain. Insectivores, many bats come out to hunt at night. They relish mosquitoes and other insects which are harmful to farming and forests. Their presence is, in fact, a good sign of a balanced natural environment.
To complete your walk in this varied landscape, follow the water where white-clawed crayfishhide. They are very sensitive to pollution. There are also brown trout. You might cross paths with an elegantgrey heron, the yellow-chestedgrey wagtail or, if you are lucky, the round white-throated dipper, which walks underwater to catch worms.
In the wet pastures around the streams you can see bright yellow bunches of marsh-marigolds, the pastel-colouredcuckoo flower, and even fragile protected orchids such as the western marsh orchid, the early marsh orchid and the moorland spotted orchid. This area is also home to the common brown frog and the salamander, as well as dragonflies, and many other species which reproduce in marshes.
This particularly rich and green natural environment exists thanks to our position on the drainage divide between the catchment areas of the Loire and the Rhone. Our region is a veritable water source, and many springs begin in the Monts du Beaujolais.
Come and discover this natural environment which is still wild. But we ask you to respect some recommendations.