This long weekend I visited some areas in Belgium with the mission to find the Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne). I was accompanied by Bas Mandos and Annika Vermaat.
Instead of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary we found very surprisingly some resting Marsh Fritillaries and some other butterfly species. In the Provence I found the Marsh Fritallaries mostly on/in Thyme but in Belgium some butterflies were restig on flowers like the White Daisy.
Nothing against Thyme but I do prefer flowers and especially White Daisies!
In the big garden of the accommodation in the Provence was a place with lower trees and bushes which was very popular with the Southern White Admiral. The first time I saw and photographed this species was in 1993 in the Estérel; last year in the Luberon I saw him regularly but unfortunately not resting. The Southern White Admiral has a graceful flight, it glides with wings open between wing beats and can be often found resting at about head height on shrubs and trees as this species is defending the territory.
This year was different. On the hottest days he was resting in the afternoon on head height on shrubs and approaching this species was a real challenge as the butterfly is very very shy. Everything what is passing will be attacked, he also attacked me and touched my arms. At first sight it seems that it was the same butterfly but from my photos I learned that every day an other Admiral was resting on the same spots.
I'm not the complaining type, but it costs me a lot of sweat and unsharp photos to catch this species.
On the day of arrival in the Provence I found a tiny little caterpillar of the Swallowtail on one of the wild Fennel plants. For me not a special species so actually I had not in mind to spend a blog about the Swallowtail. I checked the caterpillar every morning and evening on my ‘butterfly route’. Ten days later when the caterpillar was grown he was resting in the fennel and two new eggs were laid. I really considered to replace him as I was afraid that he would eat the eggs….when I checked the fennel plant the same evening again the complete fennel stalk including eggs were gone.
Apart from French butterflies, nature, old rusty cars, cheese and wine, I love the typical French villages and their laissez-faire character. Walking through the small ‘rues` with old houses is a kind of discovery tour for old doors, doorknobs and banisters…..and sometimes, when it’s very warm some doors and windows are open and allows the visitor a view inside.
This French cat was not amused that I was taking pictures…..his look speaks volumes!
How dare I to disturb him.
…. until something happened. I do not know what happened first, the woman who started screaming because I was moving like a crazy lizard in the sink under the towel she took out, or me who started running around when the towel disappeared and then she screamed. Fortunately, within seconds she could see that I was a friendly lizard. After I was tired of all the new attempts to climb out of the sink I stopped…..she photographed me for a few minutes and finally helped me out of the sink. I think she’s ok, the sink’s not!
11 Months ago I found on my Annual Honnesty (Lunaria annua) a tiny little caterpillar of the Orange-tip. Annual Honnesty is their favorite foodplant next to Garlic Mustard; both plants are growing everywhere in my garden so I'm finding almost every year caterpillars.
10 Months ago this caterpillar was at least twice the size and transformed into a chrysalis and hibernated outside in my garden until a few days ago:
A female Orange-tip was born and it is interesting to see how the butterfly unfold the soft wings. The drying proces of the wings takes more than one hour but once she was ready, she flew away.....I hope to find the next generation in a few weeks on the Annual Honesty!
On metamorphosis -> Orange-tip you can find the complete sequence.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.