The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

Posted by on in Lou Messugo

Oh dear, more wildlife at Lou Messugo!

This week there's been great excitement at Lou Messugo, on the wildlife front.  I came home one afternoon to be told by the guests in the gîte that they'd seen a deer in the garden - twice.  They'd seen it on the lawn while having breakfast around 7 am (7 am on holiday!) and then again just minutes before I got home at 3 pm.  In the five and a half years we've been here we've had numerous visitations by wild boar and plenty of foxes, but never deer.  

red squirrel at Lou Messugo

I was surprised and excited but I didn't think I'd actually see anything.  An hour or so later however suddenly there was a great commotion and a young deer came charging through the hedge.  It was clearly in a complete panic and very distressed.  It bounced off behind the pool, down to the trampoline and back up again.  There was time to call the kids to look but not to get a good photo, it was moving fast. Then it galloped off into the neighbouring garden before crashing back into our compost bin and getting caught in a wire fence.  Now I really didn't know what to do as it seemed well and truly stuck; it was thrashing around and getting in more of a tangle in its distress.  Thank goodness it freed itself and ploughed off straight through the hedge once again.

green woodpecker in garden at Lou Messugo Provence France

And that was that, or so I thought.  That was on Wednesday.  On Saturday, however, our immediate neighbours saw a much larger animal with antlers, perhaps a parent looking for its baby?  And then later that day as we were driving out of the lane we saw the original young deer in a blind panic on the road, desperately trying to find a way off the street, headbutting fences and gates in a desperate attempt to flee.  We waited until it finally found a way into yet another garden, and this time I managed to get this (terrible) photo (through the windscreen).

deer in chemin des Pignatons

I can't explain this unusual behaviour.  We live in a town, surrounded by forest, but relatively urban (OK not London or Paris urban, but urban none-the-less).  What was this obviously lost deer doing in our garden, for several days?  Did it ever find its family?

red squirrels in garden

In other wildlife news, I saw a badger in the street coming home one night recently - the first live badger I've ever seen, despite my parents living next to a huge badger set for many years.  And we've had a couple of adorable red squirrels playing in the trees in the garden.  They bounced and scrambled around for long enough to get a few photos and this afternoon a green woodpecker was busily pecking at the lawn for a good 15 minutes.  I haven't heard him for days which I guess means he's found a mate and done his business, and can now look for worms in the lawn!  That's my scientific take on the situation, you can tell I'm an ornithologist can't you?

green woodpecker at Lou Messugo

Finally it's full-on frog season.  Frogs or toads, I'm not sure which (probably toads I think) who croak so loudly at night that I fear towny guests in the gîte might think Roquefort les Pins has weird electronic noise blasted out of loud-speakers in a kind of Stalinesque nightmare scenario - they really are that loud and really quite un-natural sounding.  Actually I love the sound but I know people who don't!  And the Stalinesque nightmare thing...that's a bit of an exaggeration!  I might like the noise, it heralds warm summer evenings, but I don't like coming across the warty beasts by surprise when cleaning out the pool skimmers....

toad in skimmer

So there you go.  For a town garden I think we have quite a decent amount of wildlife.  What do you think?  Do you have any wild animals in your garden?

If you enjoyed this you might like these other posts on wildlife at Lou Messugo:

Wildlife at Lou Messugo, what a bore!

Little Robin Redbreast

Hunting wild boar and the pigs' revenge

Hogs, frogs and fireflies

 

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Comments

  • Guest
    ickle pickle Thursday, 11 June 2015

    Great photos - I have never seen a red squirrel!

  • Guest
    Globallmouse Friday, 22 May 2015

    Wow that is some toad!! Love all the wildlife you get - I hope the deer was ok. The squirrels are gorgeous.

  • Guest
    Shell Louise Thursday, 21 May 2015

    We're in the process of creating a wildlife pond. I'd LOVE to come across toads and frogs in my garden and can't wait till they move in!

  • Guest
    Kara Thursday, 21 May 2015

    You are very lucky to have red squirrels, we only have them o Brownsea Island here. We have a woodpecker, robin, chaffinch and numerous grey squirrels which visit ours

  • Guest
    Ninjakillercat Wednesday, 20 May 2015

    what amazing wildlife for saying you live in a town

  • Guest
    Nell@PigeonPairandMe.com Wednesday, 20 May 2015

    For a town, you have an extraordinary amount of wildlife! You're very lucky -but I hope the poor deer made it home. Love the shot of the woodpecker.

  • Guest
    Sarah Bailey Wednesday, 20 May 2015

    That is so exciting to see so much wildlife around your home - I would love to live in an area where I spotted more myself. x

  • Guest
    chickenruby Wednesday, 20 May 2015

    what a lovely selection of wildlife esp the red squirrels, lovely photos of them. i hope the deer is reunited with its family now

  • Guest
    Lisa from Lisa's Life Wednesday, 20 May 2015

    Lots of lovely wildlife! :) I wonder what was causing the young deer to be so stressed, bless.

  • Guest
    Adam Jones Wednesday, 20 May 2015

    Super shots of the Green Woodpecker, and I love those squirrels.

  • Guest
    Rosie @Eco-Gites.eu Wednesday, 20 May 2015

    That is indeed very odd behaviour for the deer and I suspect something panicked it in the woods nearby. With luck it will now be back with the herd.
    We have similar wildlife here too but not in the garden as I suspect our dogs keep the bigger animals away - and if they dared to damage my veg patch there would be hell to pay! We also have black woodpeckers and I almost crashed the car watching one fly over!
    As for toad and frog sounds, I love it too - and I have finally got used to "stones" (aka toads) walking off when I go to put the chickens to bed!
    Great wildlife post and lovely to see you joining in with #AnimalTales again :)

  • Guest
    Richard Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    That's quite a menagerie! I reckon that your nocturnal chorus is frogs, which I believe are much noisier creatures than toads. "Brekakakex toe-ex toe-ex", as Aristophanes pointed out in The Frogs, his comedy written in Fifth Century BC Athens.

  • Guest
    Richard Wednesday, 20 May 2015

    What I should have written was Brekakekex ko-ax ko-ax. With apologies to Aristophanes for misquoting him.

  • Guest
    Jen Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    Oh this is really interesting. We have frogs occasionally, but not much wildlife. We don't have artificial lawn (although that was what I was writing about). We live on the edge of farmland and get mice too!

  • Guest
    Catherine Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    How lucky that you have never given in to having a dog. No wild life would come if you did have one. But how marvellous to have all this wild life. We have seen the red squirrels at Lou Messugo but never deers. I don't like toads so I'm glad I haven't come across them

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    Good point Catherine, although I wouldn't mind less visits from boars which I guess if we had a big outdoor dog might be the result.

  • Phoebe
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    How wonderful!

    Though I'm with you - who gets up for breakfast at 7am on holiday?!

    Your 'first ever live badger' comment is sad. I've seen tonnes of badgers but only ever dead at the roadside :(

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    Me too...only dead on the side of the road until now.

  • Guest
    FrenchVillage Jacqui Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    I think you get more wildlife in your urban garden than we do in our rural village! Thankfully we don't get the foxes, deer or squirrels in the garden as we have chickens, ducks, crops and walnuts that we'd rather not share! We do see plenty out in the fields though and I love it.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    You also have a dog which might be keeping the wildlife at bay. We were pretty worried about our potager with the deer running mad, but it seems to have survived.

  • Guest
    Michelle Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    Oh my - that poor deer! I do hope he found his way in the end. What great wildlife you have around you. I've seen a huge fox in my garden before - didn't have time to grab the camera unfortunately. I've also had a random frog (don't now where that came from! Maybe a bird dropped it!), as well as the usual pigeons and sparrows... although, I did see a blue tit once!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    I wouldn't like to have been under the dropping frog! (If that's where it came from!)

  • Guest
    Kate Thompson Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    sesame? Autocorrect at work again lol! "See some red squirrels"!!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    sesame squirrels, a new delicacy!

  • Guest
    Kate Thompson Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    So lovely to sesame red squirrels! We had quite a friendly green woodpecker near our old home!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    Ours is very timid, not friendly at all.

  • Guest
    coombe Mill Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    Well we do have deer but they are safely in a field and only come down to greet us for breakfast in the morning. Having said that they are all around in the woods here too. Lovely photos, especially the squirrel #AnimalTales

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    I've seen photos of your deer and they are lovely Fiona. What's so odd about this is that we are surrounded by houses and gardens, not countryside!

  • Guest
    Erica Price Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    Loving the red squirrels - I've only ever seen them in Scotland or in captivity.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    Yes, we're really lucky to get them here, they are very pretty.

  • Guest
    Rachel Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    That is one rather large frog! Not too sure I would want to handle it x

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    I didn't pick it up, having inadvertently come across it I left it to someone else to rescue it from the skimmer! Not my thing either.

  • Guest
    lisa Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    i just seem to be getting red robins in my garden at the moment but thats lovely to see

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    We get lots of robins in the winter, but I haven't seen one for a few weeks now.

  • Guest
    kriss macdonald Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    So glad to see you have a red squirrel rather than a grey! Hopefully bambi found its way back home to its mother too. We have deer that come in the nearby fields but so far none in our garden.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    I hope it's OK too, it was such an odd few days, but there's been no sign now since Saturday so let's hope it's found some wild land to go back to.

  • Guest
    Clara Wiggins Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    Love the red squirrels - the only place I have seen them in the UK is on the Isle of Wight. Here we only really have birds and cats in our garden, but we often see foxes in the street outside the house if you come home late at night. Looking forward to what we might have in our garden in Pretoria - there may be some unusual birds at least.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    Pretoria should be pretty different, no foxes, deer and wild boar, perhaps jackals, springboks and warthogs! (Trying to stick to similar-looking beasts!)

  • Guest
    Sam@happyhomebird Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    Hope that deer found his mum, I feel just like my 4 year old self watching Bambi. I do love woodpeckers, they have such characterful faces, did you see the woodpecker that gave the weasel a ride? I'm not joking if you haven't :) That is a toad, and isn't he cute, warty chap. Great wildlife you have and being able to see it and photograph it.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    No I don't know about the woodpecker and the weasel, I'm intrigued.

  • Guest
    Our French Oasis Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    I hope the deer was ok and found it's way back to where it came from, I wonder if it had been chased? I definitely have squirrel envy, I love red squirrels, have only seen one in the Charente Maritime last winter and none around the house here, like you thought we have an abundance of croaking frogs! Have a great week :)

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    We also get tiny black squirrels, not grey though. I really don't know why the deer ended up in our garden, a total mystery.

  • Guest
    wren Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    That frog is actually rather cute but would give me a fright too, talking of frights, hope the Deer has calmed down! Now I'm back in Europe I have been loving watching the squirrels, they are perfect time wasters... wonderful to watch on holidays!
    Wren x

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 19 May 2015

    I don't think I could describe the frog/toad as "cute"! Hope you're having a great time this side of the world...are you in Paris Wren?

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