Since my last blog we have cold and windy weather in the Netherlands. Therefore the amount of butterflies is disappointing low....during the day I notice some white and admirals species but early in the morning I only find roosting Orange-tips.
Yesterday morning I visited big meadows full of Cuckoo-flowers near Nijmegen but the trees in the distance unfortunately blocked the rising sun.
That is why I returned to the Maasheggen this morning again. Although the meadows of the Maasheggen are surrounded by bushes and trees too, I was lucky on this national 'orange' holiday & birthday of a friend, to catch the sun just in time!
Yesterday, on April 1st I photographed my first butterfly of 2021. The day before it was 25 degrees and in the afternoon I saw some freshley emerged butterflies in my garden like Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Orange-tip. The (flower) plants in my garden have just awakened from winter and they all just started sprouting which means that the Orange-tips have no flowering roosting plants. Instead they choose flowering bushes and fruit trees.
This was a good starter and I'm already longing for more butterflies and other compositions....but I need to be patience as cold weather returned already.
Two weeks ago the world outside was covered with a layer of snow and since last Saturday the Brimstones are active again. Ten days ago it was freezing and today the thermometer reached 19,2 degrees. What a crazy difference in temperature!
But, I will nog complain as I love to see flying yellow butterflies again (until now I did not see other hibernating butterfly species).
In every way 2020 was a special year. In February I visted Lapland but very soon after this trip everything changed in Europe due to the pandemic. In June the European borders opened again and I was able to visit my house in the Vosges a few times and to search for butterflies in the Italian Alps.
One month after Wanda's death in autumn 2019, Kyra, a black German Sheppard came into my life. I adopted her from a Dutch shelter and the only things they (and I) knew was that she was confiscated, frightened and that she lived three years (her age) in a dog cage/kennel. Maybe not the easiest dog to take and after more than a year she is still very shy. That's the reason why I adopted recently a second sheppard, an old lady from Bulgaria: Roxy. Although she is about twelve years old she is full of life and very very very sweet. So if anybody is looking for a (new) dog.....please adopt! A lot of non-profit organisations (like everydaystray in Bulgaria) have beautiful and sweet dogs and puppys.
Roxy, I and Kyra wish you all Merry Christmas and the very best for 2021!
Merry Christmas - Prettige kerstdagen - Frohe Weihnachten - Joyeux Noël!!
Autumn has arrived and the rain forced me today to stop my garden activities and to make it myself comfortable inside. It is time to look back to some remarkable moments this year. One of these moments was a discovery early May in my butterfly/chrysalis cage: two butterflies of the Western Dappled White emerged after three years of beeing a chrysalis!!!!
Unintentionally I collected them as egg/young caterpillar in 2017 when I was in France. Back home I noticed that I had more caterpillars than intended and when they were all transformed into chrysalises I noticed that I had different species. After one year the majority emerged but a few stayed brown and I thought that they were dead. What a surprise after three years and what a clever tactic of nature!
Last Sunday I was 'en route' with Frank & Gerard again and we visited the same area as one year ago to search for the Queen of Spain Fritillary. We knew that the chance finding one of them was low. The first hour we did not find any living creature at all. But then we entered a meadow and found the first of 15 Small Coppers.
It's remarkable because the evening before I found two coppers roosting nearby my home and during my stay in the Vosges earlier, I photographed this species a few times. It looks like the third generation has better conditions than the first and second one!
Unfortunately all of them were roosting on places where it was impossible to catch them with the first or last warm light in the background. So I waited to catch them with open wings:
Although I found them in four different areas they had one thing in common....they were all roosting on brown/dead flower buds for optimal camouflage!
Yesterday morning, on my way to France, I paid a visit to the southern spot of the Long-tailed Blue. The day before yesterday 6 specimens were seen so I thought finding them would be a piece of cake. Their habitat was a small roadside full with flowering perennial peavine (lathyrus latifolius). Unfortunately there was a lot of traffic and finding them roosting a mission impossible! The moment I wanted to give up I found one. I was very happy but photographing this species was not easy as he flew away soon as I installed my plamp (due to the traffic there was a lot of wind).
He landed somewere on the higher part of the roadside and in the beginning I had no intention to search for him until a bit further I noticed a small path up (it was obvious that I was not the first photographer on this spot). Fortunately I found him back and very carefully I installed my plamp again and took some photos of this beauftiful species!
Later that day I learned that a lot of people visited this spot too which found also some eggs and caterpillars....it would be great to have a new butterfly species in the Netherlands!
This morning I photographed the most beautiful fritillary we have in The Netherlands. As there was no wind I tried my MP-E 65 mm for the big pearly spot. With 4 x magnification the distance between the lens and subject was very small and the depth of field extremely low (always with this lens). After a few images the wind started blowing so I switched my camera again as I liked to photograph this species with open wings. I waited and waited but by the time the sun arrived the fritillary flew away. Do you know which butterfly species the 'owner' of this pearly spot is?
Since my trips to the Mercantour I was longing for a photo of the Grisons Fritillary on which the difference, the pearly row, between this species and the Heat Fritillary is clearly visible! In Aosta - Gran Paradiso I found them!
Except butterflies I miss the great view of our accommodation, the delicious ripe gorgonzola and the good italian wine......and last but not least the company of my two friends Frank & Gerard. I hope to return to this lovely place in 2021.
It's hard to believe that I left this butterfly paradise almost three weeks ago....I miss this mountain area with its butterfly spots badly! Like I wrote before, one spot was my favorite as it was the 'main supplier' for my Aosta - Gran Paradiso gallery.
We visited this spot four times with a small interval and every visit it seems that the selection of butterflies was changed. And I'm convinced that this place has much more to offer.....so I will return for sure to this area!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.