Monday, 28 November 2011

Vidange annualle de l'étang d'Assay

Our weekly Sunday outing began with a visit to a Vide Armoire, in aid of the village school at Champigny-sur-Veude, our neighbouring village as we travel north from Braye to Chinon. It proved a fruitful hunting-ground for swatches of fabric for Elizabeth's craft work.

As the rather miserable morning had given way to a brighter afternoon, we followed this with a walk around the transects we had surveyed during the summer months as part of the French Butterfly Atlas (STERF) project. Surprisingly, considering the date, we spotted a butterfly and a fine dragonfly but weren't quick enough with the camera to capture either of them. The range of flowers still in good form was amazing!

We had noticed that the nearby étang d'Assay had been drained and were interested to take a look. The 'vidange' is an annual event and according to the sign by the side of the road, it takes just five hours to complete.  Follow the link above for more details of the site at Assay.


Exposed to air, the muddy bottom of the étang is re-oxygenated, which increases the supply of micro-organic food for fish and birds. If this traditional method were stopped, the basin would fill in and the natural balance of wildlife species would be threatened.

The muddy basin was a haven for wildfowl and we noted the first gulls we had seen in the area. 

As the sun began to sink low on the horizon the photographer in Colin came to life and his panoramic shot makes a great record of the event.


Loire Valley experiences said...

Great last shot - don't think my camera could do that!

Pollygarter said...

That etang is going to be a great place for mwaders over the winter months, too!
I noticed in the Nouv. Repub. that they will not be allowed to drain the etang next year because of the drought. I presume that it was refering to this years dry spell, else someone's got very good seaweed!

Pollygarter said...

For Mwaders... please read Waders... I hate laptop keyboards!