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  • Writer's picturePaula Dalton-Kirby

Becoming an LPO Refuge at Marcadis Gite - 2018

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Bon après-midi et bienvenue sur le blog Finders Keepers. Merci d'avoir apprécié nos mises à jour régulières.

Well I do enjoy writing my blogs however I must admit to struggling with this one. The main reason for this is the dreadful weather throughout the whole of France. We have got away lightly in comparison to others however we have never seen so much rain over the past few months. It started just before Christmas and has never stopped. One positive is that it has topped up our lake fantastically and has cleaned it ready for our swimming enthusiasts staying with us this year. We have also seen a full stream adjoining the lake which is the first. This will make for a fabulous stream walk - if we ever get the chance to go outside and develop it. Our very small weir which usually trickles with water is now fast flowing as shown below making it a great drinking hole for the Wild Board and also Deer.

Fast flowing wier due to high rain fall

Our focus this year is to get into the grounds (all 16 acres of them) and start to develop them, which is why we have been so frustrated with the weather. Trying to keep Darren in doors for the past 3 months has been a mission in itself. I have had to allow him to decorate, on his own, which is not the usual norm. He has been allowed to go and choose his own wall paper and colours, so I have ended up with a true French bedroom. At the time it was a shock to the eyes but as it is progressing it is becoming more and more like our own home. I will share photos in another blog when the time comes.

Anyway back to the gardens and grounds. We are just in the process of applying to become an LPO Refuge (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux ). The LPO work to protect birds and wildlife and to stop the decline in biodiversity, through knowledge, conservation, and raising awareness amongst the public. Becoming a Refuge LPO will allow us to register our land in the network of Refuges, the first French network of ecological gardens for biodiversity. Since its creation the LPO have more than 19,491 huts that have been created on more than 30,000 ha. Our focus as you will all know is to focus on protecting the wildlife and producing an habitat that they can grow, visit and feel safe. With research and support we will be able to plant the grounds and develop them into what our wildlife need. We currently share our gardens with visiting guests who stay in Marcadis Gite, however we would also like to open 2 - 3 times a year to other LPO enthusiasts and local school children. We are hoping to have a chat with our local Mairie to look into opportunities. If you are also an LPO Refuge, or a wildlife enthusiast and want to visit or assist in our development send me a message. We love to share ideas. This year our main focus is butterflies and planting the grounds for them. We are developing 'butterfly meadow' a large field just for butterflies. If you live in our area and want to donate plants to add to the field just pop along. We would really appreciate support. Its going to be a backbreaking task this one - just don't tell Darren that.

Becoming an LPO Refuge will also allow us the opportunity to regularly update the LPO re what wildlife we see in the gardens. In January we were able to complete the Bird Watch for the specified 1 hour. We had a positive result.

Results for those Twitchers out there are:

28/01/2018 (16:00-17:00)

Long tailed tit - 11

Blue tit - 6

Coal tit - 6

Chaffinch - 1

Robin 5

Crow - 2

Jay - 1

Magpie - 2

Great spotted woodpecker - 5

Green woodpecker - 3

Treecreeper - 1

Wood pigeon - 3

Bullfinch - 2

Falcon - 1

Total of 49 over the hour..

We have also started to see more and more animals appearing which is fabulous news for us. Towards the end of last year we found a hedgehog in one of our outbuildings. This can be seen on one of our videos on our website. We made him a makeshift home however since have seen him walking around the grounds looking fat and content. All we now need is to find him/her a partner. We are also busy building hedgehog houses which we will position around the grounds. For those who are not aware the hedgehog is endangered in France because of urbanisation and pesticide use and the population could be wiped out by 2050. We need to do everything we can to try and increase their numbers.

Hedgehog at Marcadis Gite

Well time is currently against us so fingers crossed the weather starts to improve. We have got our first booking guests due to arrive at the end of April so Darren is going to have to work flat out to catch up. You may be asking now 'Why is it all down to Darren?'. Don't worry. I am not the wicked wife who makes her husband do all the work whilst I sit back and just write blogs, as nice as it seems. I am afraid that I am still in full time employment in the UK whilst we develop the business so I drew the short straw of the admin side, which I feel is the best deal. However Darren wouldn't agree. Admin is definitely not his strong point. This will be our second year for Marcadis Gite and so far it is going to be a very positive one. We still have a few remaining weeks, so if you fancy a relaxing break in our retreat take a look at our website for availability and costings.

If I don't get to meet you in person I will hopefully meet you again in my next blog. Please share us as much as you can for the support of the wildlife and let me know if you are enjoying the blogs. Also if you have any guidance please send us your ideas.

Thank you from Marcadis Gite. On se reverra bientôt

Paula et Darren


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