La Brenne & the Pinail, Jul 2012

Not that we’re stuck in a rut or anything, but we actually called in to Parc naturel régional de la Brenne twice during our 2012 spring trip to France. The first occasion was for a single night on our way south. Our route from Luché-Pringé was going to be a slow cross-country tow before getting to a fast autoroute. Since the Étang de Bellebouche would provide a decent campsite close to said autoroute, we called in for just one night (30th May) to break the journey. The campsite pitches are not huge and the sanitary facilities are decidedly dated and tired but they’re adequate. Good decision since this stop provided my first sight of a Southern Emerald (Lestes barbarus).

We’d been trying to arrange a meeting with an e-friend who lives in France, a fellow Odonata enthusiast who runs nature trips in La Brenne. This we managed to do in the last week (2nd – 6th July) of our return journey when my e-friend met us for a day and showed us a few more useful locations in the park. Another good move since we found both an Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii) and Yellow-spotted Emeralds (Somatochlora flavomaculata). This place is right up there in the most prolific sites list. Here’s a small map showing some of the locations.

A mere 60kms/40mls distant to the west lies the highly regarded (amongst Odonata fans) Réserve Naturelle du Pinail or Pinail Trail in English. We called in once before in search of one its more unusual inhabitants but drew a blank. Well, actually we spotted one but not clearly, not for long and we certainly didn’t snap it. For the sake of an hour’s drive each way, we went back again for a second try. This time we found our quarry, the Large White-faced Darter/Yellow-spotted Whiteface (Leucorrhinia pectoralis).


View Dragonfly Sites, France in a larger map

Parc naturel régional de la Brenne

Étang de Bellebouche (nord)

This is the area around the actual campsite beside the Étang de Bellebouche. The most prolific area are two small fishing lakes immediately behind the campsite rather than the very large étang itself.

  • Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
  • Southern Emerald Damselfly (Lestes barbarus) – new
  • Small Emerald Damselfly (Lestes virens vestalis)
  • Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca)
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
  • Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum)
  • White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes)
  • Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
  • Common Clubtail (Gomphus vulgatissimus)
  • Western Clubtail (Gomphus pulchellus)
  • Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)
  • Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)
  • White-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum albistylum
  • Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)
  • Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)
  • Southern Darter (Sympetrum meridionale)
  • Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea)

Étang de Bellebouche (sud)

  • _MG_2392 Oxygastra curtisiiSouthern Emerald Damselfly (Lestes barbarus)
  • Small Emerald Damselfly (Lestes virens vestalis)
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
  • Yellow-spotted Emerald (Somatochlora flavomaculata) – new
  • Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii) – new
  • Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)
  • White-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum albistylum)
  • Southern Darter (Sympetrum meridionale)

Étang de Cistude

  • Southern Emerald Damselfly (Lestes barabarus)
  • Small Emerald Damselfly (Lestes virens vestalis)
  • Willow Emerald Damselfly (Lestes viridis)
  • Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca)
  • Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
  • Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum)
  • Southern Darter (Sympetrum meridionale)

Terres de Picadon

A relatively new small but productive reserve in La Brenne with four of the Emerald Damselflies.

  • Common Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa)
  • Southern Emerald Damselfly (Lestes barabarus)
  • Small Emerald Damselfly (Lestes virens vestalis)
  • Willow Emerald Damselfly (Lestes viridis)
  • Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca)
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
  • Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
  • Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum)
  • Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum)
  • Southern Migrant Hawker (Aeshna affinis) – new
  • Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)
  • Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)
  • Southern Darter (Sympetrum meridionale)
  • Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea)

Maison du Parc @ Le Buchet

More Dainty Damselflies than you can point a camera at but otherwise unremarkable. A handy place for lunch, though, with a covered seating area, toilets and some excellent handmade ice cream. 🙂

  • Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
  • Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum)
  • Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum)
  • Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)

Réserve Naturelle du Pinail

While visiting the Pinail Trail itself, we met a very friendly older French gentleman who was instructing a smaller boy who I presumed to be his grandson. They made a very enlightening sight. He advised us to visit another lake nearby. It wasn’t stunning on this occasion but I have included this “unnamed lake” for the sake of completeness.

Pinail Trail

  • IMG_1576 Leucorrhinia pectoralisBanded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
  • Common Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa)
  • Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
  • Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum)
  • Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
  • Green-eyed Hooktail (Onychogomphus forcipatus)
  • Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
  • Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)
  • Large White-faced Darter (Leucorrhinia pectoralis)
  • Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)

(Unnamed) Lake

  • Common Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa)
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
  • Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum)
  • Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
  • Green-eyed Hoktail (Onychogomphus forcipatus)

Posted in 2012, France, Trip reports
One comment on “La Brenne & the Pinail, Jul 2012
  1. JC says:

    Important Update:

    Since this report was written, regrettable changes have, I believe, taken place at the Étang de Bellebouche (nord) site. On a subsequent visit in 2014, the two prolific small fishing lakes appeared to be being drained and possibly filled in. A bulldozer was in evidence. I regard this as little short of a disaster.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*