Apart from ducks and geese, the farming in this particular bit of south-west France is predominantly arable. The cereal crops, mainly wheat and barley, were all harvested by the end of July. The sunflowers are now thriving and the maize is coming on strong. There are one or two fields of soya beans here and there, and usually thats about it.
However, yesterday, I noticed this beautiful field of purple and lilac flowers, and thought, bingo! Surely this is going to be butterfly-and-bee-tastic. And I was right.
It turns out to be alfalfa, also known as lucerne, and is grown as a livestock fodder, predominantly for dairy cows. It is a member of the pea family, is a perennial and is the most cultivated forage legume in the world.
If you talk to a french person about cricket, this is probably what they are imagining…
There were loads of butterflies, but as usual they were too busy fluttering and flittering for me to get a decent shot.
Another thing I couldn’t capture is the scent of the flowers, not to mention the humming and buzzing from the insects.
I’m going back tomorrow to see what else is in there – didn’t really have long enough yesterday.
Great photographs! I have never seen Alfalfa near us it looks beautiful and a trap for all the bees and butterflies. Very jealous.
It is quite a Find.
I have been back every day since, and the field is just a lovely place to be, with the scent from the flowers, the constant background hum from the bees, and the butterflies flitting and tumbling around. Its actually been a bit too breezy to get any good photos – but I’ve been trying to identify as many creatures as possible. So far the bumblebee count is one!
Now I have my eye in, I have spotted another 2 fields – not big expanses – from afar they have a grey-blue hue.
Next time I see Denys, who farms the fields directly round our house, I’m going to ask if he hasn’t considered growing alfalfa!
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Is the photo called “and another one” (honeybee on alfalfa) available to use in a book?
Thank you for the enquiry. I would be interested to know more about the book, if possible, please. And the process for agreeing it use.
Hi, I’m looking for a high-res photo of honey bee on alfalfa flower, for our new Bee & Pollinator Discovery Center opening at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum this fall. This would be a one-time use for a non-profit educ institution, in an exhibit about the importance of pollinators for food production. We’d be glad to credit the image however you request. We’re seeking a high enough res photo to enlarge to about 12″x12″. Could you please email me to let us know if it might be available for use? Thanks, Sandy Tanck Manager of Interpretation