For almost one month I'm in the Vosges and since the day of arrival I see emperors every day. The first day, I was working on my laptop and had a teams meeting, two Purple Emperors landed on the windowsill. Every evening I see at least two Lesser Purple Emperors in the crown of the big tree next to the pond/house enjoining the sun and chasing after each other. A few weeks ago a fox had pooped on the path near my house and the emperors came down:
So I asked a friend, who lives nearby, to bring me some fresh dog poop. Dog poop attracts a lot of butterflies for about two days. Every two/three days I asked for more dog poop. As it was very warm I kept the poop wet and a lot of butterflies came to drink. As the Lesser Purple Emperors are very big butterflies too, I often had to look twice which emperor was landed on the poop.
The Lesser Purple Emperor is more common in 'my' valley than the Purple Emperor but I succeeded to took some photo's of their hindwing/eye spots:
All the butterflies which came down were male butterflies; recognizable by the blue sheen on the wings and they all had signs of 'scratches' from their habitat defending behavior high in the trees.
After four dry years/summers I'm glad that both Emperor species are still in 'my' valley! During my next visit I will plant one or two common aspens, not only for the Mars Changeants but to attract the very rare Poplar Admiral....although I do not know if this species occur in the Vosges....you never know!
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:
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!
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.