As I see a lot of butterfly photos still appearing on internet, I had good hope to find some in the Vosges last weekend. On Saturday morning I searched almost two hours in the wild meadow. I found a lot, but no butterflies.
After breakfast it was time for an outdoor job....cutting down the young beeches in the front garden to create more space for flowers.
I overestimated this job as it costs a lot of time to clean up everything.
In the early evening the job was fixed and I planted the flowers which I bought from a plant nursery. In a few weeks I will plant some more plants and butterfly bushes as the car was fully packed this trip. My weekend ended with the traditional visit to a vide de grenier, a good cup of coffee and a nice talking/meeting with one of the neighbours.
The weather was fantastic in the Vosges en so I started with a kind of bramble fight in the front garden and while I was busy, some butterflies visited the buddleja which I planted in april. When it became too hot outside I moved inside and started with the painting job. First I cleanded the last dark row and big rafter and the next day (when it was dry) I put on the pimer layer.
Early in the morning I visited the wild meadow near my house as I hoped to find a lot of Chalkhill Blues. Although at day a lot of butterflies were flying around, it was hard to find any butterfly in the meadow. Finally I found three fresh Common Blues....two males and one female.
On Saturday evening I tested a french restaurant nearby and on Sunday morning I bought lovely high-tea tableware on a 'vide de grenier' so this trip became the perfect mix of gardening, painting, butterflies and enjoying 'la douce France'.
In two days I will be in the Vosges again and I guess the butterfly season will be over for this year; maybe some old Silver-washed Fritillaries and white species will be left. For me the perfect opportunity to restart my painting job(s) and to make plans if/to remove a part of the wall plaster/isolation in my living room.
In april the contractor replaced two old rotten rafters (see my blog from 18th February), one for a steel beam....at least that was his offer. Instead steel he used a big wooden rafter. Due to the big temperature differences in the house (at arrival during the winter and after one day heating) I'm glad to have wood but until now I'm hesitating if and how I will paint this big (eye catcher). Any suggestions are welcome.
The beige stove in the corner has been replaced during my last visit by a 'dutch' one with more power and will be tested as soon as the temperatures will fall.
One month ago I collected a part of them in the Vosges (see my blog Butterfly Walhalla part II), raised them in the Netherlands and released a big part of them last weekend in the Vosges on the place they were born.
Collected as caterpillar, returned as chrysalises to the Vosges and released as fresh born butterflies: 16 Camberwell Beautys.
Next to the Emperors an other big surprise was the discovery of the False Heath Fritillary which I found a few metres in front of my house near the path. It was the first time ever that I photographed this species.
An other butterfly species which I have not seen for a long time was this High Brown Fritillary which I also found in front of my house. For both species I will arrange some (extra) larval foodplants in my garden as I like to have them as a caterpillar.
When I arrived at dusk on Friday evening, I noticed some orange flags above our road and it was obvious that there was no relation with the WC football.
The heavy rain and thunderstorms from some weeks ago were responsible for a fallen tree and power pole.....fortunately both were 'cleanded up' in the meantime.
When I passed this place on Saturday morning on my way to the wild meadow (see my blogs Le pouvoir des filles I and II) I noticed some black caterpillars walking on the sawed pole....when I came closer I noticed that this were Camberwell Beauty caterpillars and soon I noticed a lot of them on the brown withered leaves.
I returned to the house to get a box and started collecting caterpillars which I released in my back garden (in the Vosges) on their larval foodtree.
In the meantime the sun had risen above 'my' wild meadow when I started searching butterflies. Instead of 40 cm the grass was now at least 1,20 metre high and immediately I noticed a Heath Fritillary.
A lot of Meadow Browns were already active and the Marbled Whites started opening their wings. On a part with lower grass and a lot of flowers I found some Black-veined Whites. Although I photographed them a week earlier in the Eifel I was glad to have them in the Vosges.
Last weekend I was in the Vosges for only two days as I was very curious which kind of butterflies I can find in June. What I found/see exceeded my expectations!
I had taken two buckets with horse manure which I placed near the path but very soon I found out that the most butterflies preferred Wanda's dogshit. So I mixed the horse and dog shit and within some minutes it was bingo!
The first Lesser Purple Emperor landed on the shit followed by a second one and some Small Skippers, Heath Fritillaries and a Comma-Butterfly.
Also a Purple Emperor landed on 'my' shit but he flew away twice as soon as I moved a little bit. When I returned to the house I discovered him in the shadow on my house wall near the empty shit buckets so I placed some bramble (with a hint of shit) near the buckets and waited......
....and there he came.....the big Purple Emperor.....the only thing I will change the next time is my lens.....this butterfly is too big for the 180 mm!
The evening I found her majesty I was 'en route' without camera. I asked my son to return to the house and bring my camera stuff and fortunately he did! In the meantime I was searching for other butterflies but I only found one Grizzled Skipper.
My son returned running with all my camera stuff and I started photographing her with a kind of wide angle lens. So the name of this blog must change into Le pouvoir de garcon! Merci mon chéri!
Four days in the Vosges felt like almost a week. My short holiday started with visiting two vide de greniers (without buying/finding anything), discovering a beautiful nature area with a lot of lakes and wild meadows and photographing a Wood White in my own garden. As the weather was wonderful I started with the front part of the garden to create some space for another three butterfly bushes. Working in the garden in the Vosges means 'killing' a lot of brambles and saying 'hello' to the snakes and slow worms between the stones.
Every evening I visited a wild meadow near the house which I discovered during my autumn stay. Unfortunately nature is running late in the Vosges and the meadow with wild flowers was almost empty. Almost......because the second evening something in front of me in the grass scared me when it started moving....it was a resting female Swallowtail which tried to chase me away by moving/opening her wings. Of course I returned the next morning as I wanted to catch her with dewdrops....although her body was covered with dewdrops and although I approached her very carefully she opened her wings again.....what a girlpower....after a minute she closed her wings a little bit and I could take some photos before a big mosquito attacked her and she decided to change her position.
Last Friday I returned to the Vosges together with four girlfriends for a high-tea-birthday-weekend. In ten days time nature in the Vosges was awakened and the forest floor was covered with white blooming wood anemones.
The weather conditions were excellent and on Saturday I saw the first Camberwell Beauty very soon after the sun started shining. I had a good helper and together we noticed at least four specimens. Photographing them was again a big challenge as they flew away immediately. On Sunday I had more luck when one butterfly started drinking from my house wall.
Next to the Camberwell Beauty we saw some Small Tortoiseshells, a lot of Brimstones, one Peacock Butterfly and one Holly Blue.
Since August 2017 I'm the owner of Maison Bonheur, an old farmhouse in the Vosges. Because of its location in the forest/nature the possibilities for nature/peace/relaxing lovers are limitless.