On the first of January I found her as an egg, in April I fed her as caterpillar and when she transformed into a chrysalis I created a safe place for her in the garden. The day before yesterday she still was a chrysalis in the morning and in the early evening she was a beautiful fresh Purple Hairstreak. I had some shots in mind with her but she repayed me on her way by flying away the next morning. She deserved her freedom but one photo in my pink flower garden would have been nice......ungrateful bitch!
I searched for an other 'vicitim' but only found a lot of beetles. The Asian Ladybird and Leef Beetles are doing very very well in my garden....unfortunately I was not into beetles at that moment....I wanted 'my' butterfly back. Finally I found a nice subject on a pink flower, a Flower Crab Spider. Although I was happy with this little spider, my bad mood did not disappear immediately!
Happy with a dead sparrow
Two weeks ago I heard a noise in the birdhouse and noticed a lot of bird dirt on, in, under it and under a plum tree nearby. A few days later I heard a owl call early in the evening and looked into the direction of the birdhouse and there she was, the little owl from last year.
Noise + shit + little owl = breeding owls in my birdhouse = happy Silvia!
After three evenings observing the birdhouse with the binocolars, I found out that I was happy with a dead sparrow (dutch saying) as there was no life in or near the birdhouse. The third night I made a lot of photos with the interval function but again NO sign of any owl. A few days later I received an email that the little owls are using the same birdhouse (nearby 350 m) as last year.
Again I will not have sweet little owlets in my garden but until now it is not the end of the story.......I assume that she must have very hungry owlets at the moment because she is using my birdhouse for hunting mouses at day. More by accident (I was busy with the laundry) I saw her:
After my return from France it was a pleasure to see the awakening of nature and all the different kind af fresh green colours. For me this is the most beautiful time of the year!
Regarding the presence of butterflies I'm a little bit concerned as I do not see/find much butterflies. Not in my garden, nor along ditches.
This white species I found in my garden a few days after my homecoming when we had summer temperatures. Despite all the beautiful flowers since this photo my garden seems to be a butterfly-free area. Not much butterflies in France, not much butterflies here....I hope that this tendency will change soon!
Shine on you crazy diamond
Every morning when I entered the wild meadow, I had to see what becomes of it overnight.…do I see Mikado sticks or not (see my earlier blogs from the 11th and 8th of May). Sometimes when the sticks were all gone, I was curious what was going on at night….how many foxes were living in that meadow and how do they pulled the sticks out (the last days I pushed them in very fast/deep)…..or did they simply like the Mikado game?
As I have plans to return next year I will invest in one or two webcams as I’m thrilled to find out how many animals are living (or crossing) that meadow during the night.
The last evening I found some Adonis Blue butterflies and marked them, not too close to the butterflies in case the fox(es) will carry the stick in his mouth. Unfortunately the last thing happened, the sticks were gone including butterflies. I found one butterfly back under this pink orchid and put him very carefully on it and waited for the sun. In a dry area without dew it will not take long before butterflies will open their wings….fortunately this Adonis Blue was a fresh guy and he accepted for a long time without moving that I created some shadow over him with my hand and used my flash.
With this photo on my CF-card I said goodbye to France, fortunately only for some weeks as in June I will return together with the ‘Palinka’ club to the Cévennes.
On my way to the south of France it was cold and until Valence it was raining non-stop, after I passed Valence the temperature was rising and the sky turned from grey into blue. When I left the highway I noticed that not a single butterfly was flying near the road. After arrival I inspected the wild meadow of the accommodation and indeed….not a single resting butterfly (except some Small Heaths). The variety of plants and flowers were the same as usual so I guess that most of the butterflies were not emerged yet. Fortunately the sun was shining and from the second evening I found some butterflies; still low numbers and countable on one hand. But, finding them back was this year a new kind of adventure and brain training for me.
Since years I use big Mikado sticks to mark (vertical) resting butterflies, orchids or other interesting things and that trick worked well….until this year. None of my sticks were visible anymore and after a while I found the first stick back in the grass with biting marks of a fox in it. The next morning the same thing had happened again….all my Mikado sticks were disappeared in the grass and not visible anymore and it costs me more time to find the resting butterfly back. That evening I put some dog cookie in front of every Mikado stick and was very happy to find out that this worked, the cookie was gone and the stick was intact and visible. For the foxes that trick worked very well for some days but then the wild boars came….the cookie was gone including everything what was growing/resting/available within a square metre around the cookie. End of the cookie story!
The morning that I was lying in the grass waiting for the sun for the image below I heard them coming....mother wild boar with 6 or 7 youngsters (which were almost fully grown). I counted their footsteps and waited curiously where they planned to enter ‘my’ meadow….and suddenly there she was, a few metres in front of me, her head and front legs appears between some low bushes. I doubted what to do but decided to chase her away with a loud ‘boooooooaaaaa’. Fortunately she understood my call and disappeared together with her offspring. Quietness returned and some minutes later when the sun gave the dry grass in the background a warm colour, I photographed this Chequered Blue!
The Hunted One
Two weeks holiday in my beloved France passed by too quickly and although I have more stories to tell I will start with a sad one which impressed me the most.
On the day of arrival I inspected the wild meadow of the accommodation and was disappointed that I could not find one single butterfly; instead a few metres in front of me a fox was sitting. Unfortunately only for one second because as soon as he realized that a human being had entered his wild area he was gone. The last time I was that close to fox was 40 years ago when I was a little girl and looking for easter eggs in a German forest.
The third morning I stepped outside, I saw something moving and noticed a fox near the accommodation, I was surprised and happy to see a fox again but immediately noticed that something was wrong. The fox could not run away as he was badly injured at his both front legs. The fox tried to crawl and it was horrible to see and to realize how much pain and fear he must have. He was lying on the grass and wanted to run away. I pet his head and very carefully I picked him up, carried him to some bushes and gave him some dog food. As it was very early in the morning I did not know what to do. Two hours later I send a sms to our contact person in France (which was living nearby) to ask for the address of a vet or an animal rescue organisation. Unfortunately I received no reply (in the evening he called me that he was that day in an area without any signal) so I tried to find a vet and finally a vet was found nearby….but he was closed due to lunch time. The fox was still lying under the same bush and because I was assuming that I would drive with him to the vet I put him into a box with again some food. Some later, when the vet was available again we called him again with the question if he could release a badly injured fox but unfortunately the answer was NO…..because, the vet was not allowed to treat a wild animal and gave a telephone number of ‘le marie’ to find somebody who is allowed to kill a wild animal!
I was very very angry because it cost me almost the whole day to find that vet while in the meantime the fox was suffering and because I can not understand that in such an urgent situation I was confronted with bureaucracy.
In the evening I visited the fox in the box and gave him again some dog food to avoid dehydration….very conflicting because at the same time I was considering methods to release him.....but I was unable to kill him.
The next morning I found him dead in the box. He had eaten the food, left a big turd and finally passed away. I was sad and happy at the same time!
Later that day I buried him in the wild part of the garden and before putting him into his grave I was looking at him very well and found out that one leg was damaged before and that he must have been cripple for a while and that a big part of his other leg was missing (a fresh wound).
I do not understand why such a beautiful harmless and useful animal is hated that much by a lot of people and although it is 2016 that their methods to catch/kill them are still medieval!
This male Renard I will never forget; I only took one photo of him with the 'flower' setting (large aperture) of the day before but this look speaks for himself. R.I.P.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.