Part II was a kind of unforeseen visit to a new area with the mission to find the Bog Fritillary. The mission was successful but it was almost a matter of life and death as during the drive to the area the streets were drenched with water and when we arrived at the area, thunder and lightning 'decided' to hang around above the area. Everytime when I stepped out of the car to give it a try, lighting came down to me followed by thunder within some seconds. Finally I capitulated and we returned to the hotel without seeing any butterfly.
The next morning the weather conditions were fantastic and after a short search I found two resting Black-veined Whites each on an orchid. The honour of finding the fritillaries goes to Gerard!
As our mission was successful, on our way back we ended our trip with the German tradition 'Kaffee und Kuchen' and started making plans for the next trip.
My alarm clock went off very early totday to pay a visit to the Violet Coppers and Bog Fritillaries, 2014 was the last time I visited this area. Although we have summer temperatures, the area was very cool and wet. The vegetation was lower than in 2014 and there were very little flowering Common Bistort plants; instead I noticed some Cuckoo flowers. I searched and searched but after two hours I only found a resting Sooty Copper and not any Violet Copper or Bog Fritillary. When the sun arrived, the Violet Coppers arrived.....I guess they were resting in the bushes near the trees as none of them had dewdrops on their wings.
With the Violet Coppers the hard light arrived and it was a crime to photograph them. With my hand I created some shadow over them but they don't like it and after one or two photo's they were gone. The majority were male butterflies which have a bluish/violet sheen on all wings.
The Bog Fritillary must wait....in three weeks I will be back in the Eifel with some friends and if we catch this species we will have some extra sized 'Kaffee & Kuchen'.
This morning I visited the cuckoo flower area again as I'm still dreaming of a certain photo....and no.....it's not the one below unfortunately. First because the flowers are almost finished and second the sun did not rise red on the horizon due to some buildings far away. By the time the sun was high enough to climb over the buildings the light was too hard.
But, I will not complain as I need something to desire for 2019 and there are enough other beauties to photograph right now.
For weeks, even months I was longing for spring and suddenly it was summer and within a week nature has changed completely. On Thursday evening I checked an area nearby and found out that the majority of the Cuckoo flowers are on their return and instead of Orange-tips I found eggs.
On Friday morning the weather was ideal (no wind at all) photographing butterfly eggs (with the MP-E 65mm) on their larval food plants. On the small fresh buckthorns leaves I found eggs of the Brimstone.
The interesting thing was that three females must passed this buckthorn bush and they all liked the same leaves/places as I found three eggs under the same leaves.
It's obviously that with this crazy high temperatures a lot of butterfly species came to live. On Wednesday evening I found two male Orange-tips near a small lake but after I installed my tripod one flew away....it was too warm! This morning I tried a 'new' area which, I guessed so, has a favourable rising-sun situation. The majority of the cuckoo flowers were still green and I only found one Orange-tip. But, I will not complain as one is enough; the only disappointing thing is the amount of dog owners who also like this area.
again to the Holly Blue. After a fantastic warm weekend this Holly Blue female choosed her sleeping place last Sunday evening in one of my prunus lauroceracus bushes. The next morning I offered her a flower and after I touched her front leggs very carefully with that flower, she changed her position and started climbing into the flower. When I was ready I brought her back to her original place in the bushes, repeated the procedure and left her where I did find her and went to work.
Finally spring has arrived this weekend and my vitamin D deficiency has been corrected a little bit. Yesterday I was very happy when I saw the first butterfly in my garden....a male Brimstone. Every year it's special to see and photograph the first butterfly of the year. I can't wait to photograph the first one of 2018 and I'm curious which butterfly species will be first!
The image of the Peacock Butterfly is taken four years ago in March when the temperatures were higher and the trees already had blossoms.
Exactly one week ago it was still winter with freezing temperatures and fresh snow. Last Sunday the snow melted and in the afternoon spring arrived. I've rarely experienced such a big difference!
After some warmer days nature has awakened and I was glad that some caterpillar nests of the Glanville Fritillary survived winter. Unfortunately their enemies survived the winter too as around almost each nest I noticed a parasitoid wasp.
Some of them were already busy infecting a caterpillar en some of them were sitting in the grass around the nest. I guess that it is no coincidende from mother nature that the wasps (I assume pteromalus puparum) have the same colours as the caterpillars...black with red eyes.
By the end of January I discovered a Little Owl on the roof of my neighbours garden house. The experience around this time of the year shows that one owl means two owls and very soon I discoverd the second, very shy one. I guess it is the Belgian owl from last year who lost the partner by death.
Fingers crossed that after four years of 'making plans' they will breed successfully.
In spring 2010 I visited Les Chauffours in the Dordogne, France, where a family of Long-eared Owls lived in the trees around the terrace of the accommodation. During my two weeks stay I had some opportunities to photograph the adult owls. Photographing their offspring was an other story as the were hiding during the day high in a Norway Spruce. On the last day of this holiday I noticed that they were gone and finally I found them back high in a cherry tree. I often told friends that I would never forget how they all looked down to me but I completely forgot that I photographed this scenery. Until today, I never believed stories of other nature photographers that they found photos back on their harddisk(s) that they had completely forgotten. Yesterday I noticed a Little Owl in my garden and for some reason I took my 2010 harddisk and discoverd forgotten photos of the Long-eared owls......I welcomed myself to the world of amnesia!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.