On the 16th and 18th of August I found the 17th species in the wild meadow near my house...a Mazarine Blue. The first butterfly was a female and I hope that she laid a lot of eggs in the meadow. Because the temperatures were high I had some hope to find other roosting species in the meadow like Clouded Yellows and Fritillaries.....none of them I found. The meadow was pretty empty; during my stay I had to deal with 9 Small Heaths, 2 Mazarine Blues and 1 Common Blue. Around the house there was more butterfly activity as a lot of Silver-washed Fritillaries liked my butterfly bushes.
On the 15th of June France opened its borders and on the 17th I drove to the Vosges for a week. After almost five month of absence the front garden and path were transformed into a wilderness and again I had no internet/wifi. In the evening I visted the wild meadow near my house which was full of butterflies.
The next morning I returned to the meadow and the butterflies were coverd with dew and I found some nice sitting Meadow Browns and Ringlets. During the week the amount of butterflies declined in that meadow while around my house the amount was rising.
During my stay the weather was much better than predicted and every day it became warmer and warmer and more and more butterflies emerged. While I was sitting on the terrace I noticed some little fast flying butterflies....when I came closer I was very happy to noticed a new species around my house....the Ilex Hairstreak!
Fortunately the title has nothing to do with smoking, although Gerard and I got almost smoked by the heat in the Vosges during our last week. It was on the last day that a big orange butterfly flew into the house to cool down a little bit.
A perfect opportunity for us to photograph this beauty with the funny French name.
After three weeks and two days it was time to say goodbye to the Vosges, the quietness, the good life of doing nothing except enjoying!
Cheers!!! (Wanda, me, Gerard and Frank)
On the 18th of June, by coincidence I found a caterpillar of the Marbled Fritillary and three days later the caterpillar (chenille) was transformed into a chrysalis.
Due to the extreme high temperatures all kind of butterfly species started flying. Last year I only saw one or two White Admirals at the same time....this year I saw a lot of them. Most of them were flying around in trees (also searching for females) but in the afternoon some of them came down to the brambles or ground to drink.
So next year I hope to find a chenille of the White Admiral as a lot of Honeysuckle is growing near my house too.
At the moment the temperatures are out of proportion in France. Two days ago the thermometer reached 39,8 degrees and it is still bloody hot! With these extreme high temperatures it's almost impossible to photograph butterflies; even early in the morning the temperatures are too high and without dew they fly away immediately.
Due to the heat a lot of butterfly species emerged last week and one after the other beauty flew by and I even noticed some 'new species' around my house.
Last year the Purple Emperor and Lesser Purple Emperor loved Wandas dog poop but this year they were not really interested in it. The big emperor was not cooperative but fortunately his little 'brother' was:
The day before I arrived there were heavy 'orages' in the Vosges and I was not really surprised that the internet/wifi was gone. Getting it fixed in France is an other issue!
Today, after 8 days and two visits of a mechanic it's working again. So fingers crossed that the next thunderstorms will miss 'my' village.
During my last visit in May the wild meadow near my house was empty.
Now it is crowded with Black-veined Whites, which loves the white daisies, and Heath Fritillaries. In a few days it will be summer again and I hope that all the beautiful species which I found last year will emerge soon.
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'.
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.
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.