A Few Days in Fontainebleau Forest; Rocks, Lizards and Dragonflies.

The 62000 acre forest surrounding Fontainebleau is an area of outstanding beauty and natural diversity. The area is characterized by parallel sandstone ridges which have eroded in places to produce characteristic sandy areas. The whole forest is criss-crossed with paths - use a map and a compass if you don't want to get lost!
The upland areas are often cracked and dotted with ponds and further erosion by water seepage has led to the crumbling of the rock strata into strange shapes that often resemble animals. These are the famous `roches` that attract climbers from around the World.

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The most impressive example that we saw  must be `The Elephant` which requires no imagination at all....
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Lizards can be seen among the rocks. searching for food and can often be approached with reasonable ease. 

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The many small ponds to be found in the forest (often near the top of ridges where rock strata trap water) are alive with reptiles and insects.
The loudest (!) is certainly the Marsh Frog as the males vie for the attention of females.
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Dragonflies provide plenty of opportunities for photography and butterflies are to be seen in the sunny clearings. (Identification of these insects can be tricky without access to suitable reference books).
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 There is no doubt that the Forest offers many opportunities for nature lovers - if only I could have got pictures of the Great Spotted, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Black and Green Woodpeckers seen there! The photographs of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker shown here were actually taken in an old orchard in Grez-sur-Long in the immediate vicinity.

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A final note: the most surprising find was this Western Green Lizard measuring over 10inches in length.

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