The diversity of wildlife that can be found at Le Roudier is truly amazing. From the iconic Hoopoe that arrives from Africa each Spring, to the impressive boar that rummage energetically year long in the oak woodlands. Birds of prey are particularly abundant here and we regularly have kestrels that nest in the copse next to the house. Buzzards are numerous and their call is easily heard as they use the thermals to effortlessly climb into the clear blue Dordogne sky.
As the farmers tend to their fields, the kites (both black and red) which normally congregate along the Dordogne river, descend in huge numbers profiting from the disturbed vegetation. A more solitary hunter, the hen harrier, prefers a quieter approach and can often be seen with its slow and smooth glide, hugging the contours of the gentle rolling countryside.
Barn owls are a speciality of the area giving rise to the name ‘dame blanche’ or ‘white lady’ which curiously is also a name given to a delicate yogurt dessert served in most local restaurants. The best time to see these magnificent birds is at dusk as they take their sentry posts on the vineyard poles and patrol silently through the night.
During the warm quiet of the still Summer evenings, it is not uncommon to sit out on the terrace with a cool glass of sharp Bergerac white wine and listen to the Golden Orioles chiming their fantastic melodies in the woodland across the valley. A fairly timid bird which spends much of its time deep in the woods, proves more difficult to actually see but which, never the less, has a mesmerizing song.
Several varieties of deer are also extremely common and regular visitors to Le Roudier. The smallest Muntjac deer, which surprisingly can be confused with the huge hares that frequent the fields, can often be heard ‘barking’ at dawn or dusk. The larger and more common Roe deer make the most of the tall maze fields in which to conduct their daytime manoeuvres.
An array of orchids fills the ditches and wooded pathways surrounding Le Roudier and are at their best in late Spring. Field orchids, Pyramid orchids and Bee Orchids are the most abundant here although some rarer varieties can be found by the more discerning rambler. Open fields, shady valleys, streams and pasturelands quilt the countryside and make an ideal landscape to explore.