In June 2006 we got company from Henk Baptist and Vera van Nispen, 2 naturalists to the backbone. On our request they put their findings of this beautiful area on paper.
The valley of Nightingales
La Libaudié is situated in a mixed sloping seepage forest with agricultural activity on top and below the river Tarn which eroded a deep valley in the area. The forest is a so called seepage forest, which means that the ground water surfaces here. Unfortunately with some minor manuring caused by the farmers. The soil seems dry, but on small depth there's always water. This brings along a special vegetation.
Plants like Large Bitter-cress, Alternate-leaved golden saxifrage, Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage , Pendulous Sedge en Great Horsetail are the typical species for well woods. On several spots sprout little brooklets with a wide variety of several kinds of ferns, Greater Water-parsnip and Water Figwort. At night you might spot the rare fire salamander.
The continuing presence of water is also responsible for the rich insect life and thus the broad variety of birds. The most clamorous without any doubt are the many Nightingales which compete for the highest song during night and daytime; at night conducted by the Tawny Owl. Interesting other species are the many woodpeckers, Golden Oriole, Hoopoe, Common Buzzard and Honey-buzzard. Very special is also the breading of the Booted Eagle in the forest. Next to it you will spot many birds of prey like the Griffon Vulture, Black and Red Kite, Hobby and Peregrine Falcon.
The house itself lodges a colony of bats (>100) like the common pipistrelle, serotine and greater noctule. Oscillated lizard and Common wall lizard live in the garden and numerous singing-birds hatch in and around the buildings. The farm and camp site are, ecological seen an edge of woods, rich of flowers among which many honeysuckles and thus the presence of the Southern White Admiral.
In brief, for the lover of nature there is lots to explore.
Henk en Vera
Every year la Libaudié has very special guests. In spring time a couple of Kestrels make their nest in a hole of one of the walls of the main building! From there they have a strategic view over the big meadow below behind the building. Once the eggs have hatched there is little chance they are scared away. Every year they raise 4 to 6 young ones. See their impressive parenthood in the video below.