I live in Paris, and one could think that such a big Metropole is only made up of lifeless buildings. But the many parks and squares in the city as well as greened balconies and windowsills, let a lot of wildlife develop itself peacefully. If it weren’t for the rats, but that was a different post.
The exotic insect
Last Sunday, we went on a very nice birthday outing, to re-explore what must be my favourite place in the city of love, the Palais Royal and surrounding area (that means eating Japanese in the neighbourhood).
It was shockingly quiet, the streets were void of tourists and people having lunch in the area. On our chemin towards the Carré Louvois, a little square(that’s the word carré) surrounded by beautiful buildings harbouring a big fountain and most importantly a playground, I received a call from my father in law, wishing me a happy birthday. But suddenly my concentration was elsewhere as my eyes fell onto a praying mantis sitting peacefully in the Rue Louvois.
I recall my mom being all excited about her rare sightings of a mantis. So this enormous, beautiful and majestic insect made me think of my mom. Maybe she sent the mantis as a birthday message?
As sightings of mantis are super rare for me, especially in Paris, I went crazy taking low-quality pictures with a very old iPhone…
This little or big critter made me smile a lot. It seems to be such an exotic animal.
In German, we call it a Gottesanbeterin, a woman praying God, in French, it’s a Mante Religieuse, a religious mantis, and according to the French Wikipedia mantis actually means “prophetess goddess”.
What flies there?
I heard a little rustling of the leaves, as I had just before observed rats searching for food in treetops, I thought that was what I was going to see within the flowers arching over the path, but I found myself more surprised than anything else. A tiny, what am I saying, minuscule little bird took its flight. It looked black, but that might have been due to the dark shadow surrounding it. Smaller than the palm of my hand, I could spot a rather long and thin beak.
I got all excited, you can imagine, and my perpetual smile grew even bigger.
Was it a hummingbird?
I have no idea.
Hummingbirds are not in the slightest native to Europe. I checked the internet, but that didn’t give me any answers. I now know how to deal with a baby bird though… It’s not a Goldcrest, which is the smallest bird we are meant to have in Europe. Maybe someone’s pet escaped?
Since my tender childhood, I have been drawn to bees. Maybe it’s the succulent honey they make or the recomforting buzzing that can be heard near a beehive. Whatever the reason, bees do make me happy, they lift my spirits.
Lately, I don’t mind doing the dishes (I really don’t like doing the dishes, but it has to be done), as I have a front row standing place to observe bees collecting nectar and pollen. Just outside our kitchen window, on the windowsill, there is a flower box in which we have a few plants, predominantly mint because mint multiplies very quickly. We don’t actually use the mint, but we let it be for the bees. For months, the mint has been flowering, so every day I can observe a bee harvesting this melliferous flower. Yesterday, there were four European dark bees busy working outside my kitchen window.
Mint might not be as pretty as geraniums, but the bees love it!
Wouldn’t you love to taste the eclectic mix that urban honey must be?
This post is part of the #WeeklySmile linkup, so if you are in search of things to make you smile, check out what made others smile! 😍
© Solveig Werner 2017. All rights reserved.