Unfortunately the trip to the Eifel went by too fast. The beer and food was excellent just like the company. The 'only' disappointing item were the low amount of butterflies at the old spots. Since almost 25 years I'm visiting these spots and the contrast between then and now is large. Some species are completely disappeared.
But, we also discovered two new area's and in one we found some hundreds of butterflies.....the majority was the Silver-studded Blue but it was a relief to find a place with a lot of fluttering.
Mission Bog Fritillary was not succesful, instead we found some Cranberry Fritillaries, a lot of Lesser Marbled Fritillaries and one resting Dark Green Fritillary.....together with the fun we had it was a pretty good Eifel trip!
After a busy working day, it's now time to relax and prepare my trip to the Eifel together with some members of the Palinka club. I'm in the mood for some German butterflies, food, beer and conversations. Es geht nichts über die deutsche Gemütlichkeit!
When I came home today, I noticed that two more Brimstones were born and in contrast to other butterfly species the Brimstone enjoys very slowly his new life....time enough to take some photos before I start to clean the car, pack my bag and camera stuff.
A few days ago, I saw some adults 'old' Brimstone butterflies in the forest, two males and a female searching for nectar between the flowering brambles. Yesterday, their first offspring emerged while I 'm still finding 2nd stage caterpillars in the forest. This year the deviation in caterpillar stage is much bigger than last year due to the cold period in April.
I can't wait to see more offspring and other butterfly species!
Nature it's on her best at the moment! Next to birds, deers also butterflies giving 'birth' to the next generation. Wherever I look, I find caterpillars, their enemies and other little creatures!
Wanda (my shepard) hates them....actually not them but me walking slowly through the forest and searching for them. In almost every Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) caterpillars are living:
Unfortunately all the caterpillars of Red Admiral which I found in my garden were parasited. When I unfold the nettle leaf I noticed an opening at one cocoon and a few minutes later I witnessed the emergence of a parasitoid wasp. The newborn wasp flew to a higher nettle leaf and allowed me one image before she flew away to search for new victims:
If there is one butterfly species which I often met during my holidays abroard but who is very difficult to photograph than it is the Pearl-bordered Fritillary. I remember a holiday in the Black Forest in 1994 where I did my very best to catch them on Blue Bugle (Ajuga reptans) and in the end I had only one or two 'proof' photos. Last year in the Cevennes I only looked at this species when he came flying by. In contrast to his 'brother' the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary this species is not resting/sleeping on flowers but hides on higher places in bushes. Once he is awake he is a quick and powerful flyer and always in motion....except some minutes a few weeks ago in France.
The sun came out after a rain shower and the air was fresh when I discovered him.....the Pearl-bordered Fritillary.....he needed to warm up in the sun. For some minutes he was very cooperative before he chooses the higher bushes again.
Normally all springflowers are out of flowers when I come home after two weeks holiday.....except this year. For the first time in years the bluebells and forget-me-nots were still in bloom and a few days after arrival I found this Green-veined White hidden between the bluebells. Unfortunately this butterfly was the one and only I found in my garden the last three weeks....but, I will not complain as I found a lot of caterpillars the last days and again my kitchen table is transformed into zootropolis.
Although my holidays in the Provence are behind, last Friday I was in France again with a pleasant reason.....to buy my own Nature Walhalla in France. Years of dreaming came to an end.
After the signature session at the notary, together with the sellers I visited 'my' house again and recieved a lot of information about the house and the nature encounters they had around the house. The sellers had deliverd clay for building a breeding place for the kingfisher high enough to keep the present grass snakes out of the nest. Next to butterflies, big fishes, frogs, toads and deers I also have snakes, dormouses and kingfishers!
The handover of the keys will be in six to eight weeks and then my new adventure will start....to create (a lot of jobs needs to be done first) my own pleasant nature walhalla.
Back to the Provence....these two Marsh Fritillaries liked each other very much and on this image the differences between male and female are clearly visible. The right one is bigger and the left one is more furry......the left one is the female and the one with the sexy chest hair is the male.
Near the access route of accommodation in the Provence I discovered a meadow full of all kind of fritillaries.....after 20 Marsh Fritillaries I stopped counting them as much more were sitting there on the flowers.
This will probably my last blog written in France and I’m already sad that I have to leave in two days. Starting every day with butterflies then coffee with a croissant followed by visiting a market or a vide de grenier then a good lunch with French cheese followed by reading a book or looking/searching for butterflies…..I could live that life so much longer!
Although the temperatures were (still are) disappointing low (I’m wearing my winter coat) I found beautiful butterflies and other creatures. After years I managed it to photograph the Pearl-bordered Fritillary and yesterday morning I found this beauty…..probably recently emerged as I found a lot of damaged Honeysuckle leaves. Yesterday evening I found a lot of resting butterflies and a couple mating Marsh Fritillaries….this place is like a neverending story.
Every evening I make a tour through the wild meadows to search for resting butterflies which I can ‘catch’ the next morning. In the broom I found a resting blue species and when I came closer to look which species I found, I noticed that something in the broom was moving….it was a praying mantis. Very quickly I went back to the accommodation to took my camera as the last sunlight coloured the background. The mantis was hard to catch as he was not amused that I had found him and behaved like he has a hyperactive disorder. He was climbing/changing his position quicker than I was able to change the position of my lens….from sitting up to hanging upside down and everything in between without lose sight of me and my camera.
Today it’s King’s Day in the Netherlands, a day with many special events in public spaces to celebrate the birthday of the King. Every year the King is visiting towns and cities on his birthday, this year ‘the honour’ goes to Tilburg and my thoughts goes to all my colleagues who are working today!
Today it’s also the birthday of a friend who likes butterflies as much as I do….I did my very best to find a Provence Orange-tip but unfortunately, I only saw one ‘common’ Orange-tip. Instead of the yellow one I post the most orange one and wish you all a happy King’s & Birth Day!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.