Six years have passed since I almost became a bog body during my tour in the Netherlands to find the the Cranberry Fritillary (Boloria aquilonaris). After I fell in a bog hole I had a very high heartbeat and although I found later some Dutch species on Cross-leaved Heath; I promised myself not to leave footpaths in bog/fen/moor area’s ever again.
Six years later, together with Bas Mandos, I travelled to the High Fens in Belgium to search for this beautiful butterfly again.
With optimism we started the tour and at the first point we searched well without finding one single butterfly. The High Fens are very wet and as the name suggets, it’s a real fen area so no wonder that the horizon was rising when I was looking around at some wet places. Very slow I was sinking in the moss and some flash-backs returned. Instead of Cranberry Fritillaries we found a dragonfly, three Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, some green moths and a lot of Ringlets.
After a search of almost three hours and some hundred mosquito bites, I became despondent and just at the moment I was loosing my faith in finding them I noticed a lot of Cross-leaved Heath. Within a few minutes I found the first Cranberry Fritillary; in all we found 4 butterflies on Heath plants.
As Bas did not believe my story from 2008, he was trying to become a Bog Body as well...... with wet and dirty clothes we fortunatley arrived back home safety!
As I’m not a fan of black backgrounds, I did not look to 4 or 5 photo’s on my harddisk which I had made in Hungary last week. More than that, a few days ago I wanted to delete them when I opened the last one for a check and noticed an uncommon background.
I’m not sure what happened but due to the fact that the temperatures were high these days I assume that the butterfly shaked his head and caused these shining/moving drops.
Long time ago, I heard about Farm Lator, the ‘hot spot’ for butterflies in Hungary which is located at the foot of the Bükk Mountains. Last year I received an invitation to join a group of passionate nature photographers and for a week and recently I travelled to Hungary by car. Together with Marielle, Hans, Ed, Mees, Debbie, Jacco, Frank and Gerard, I enjoyed a wonderful week with a lot of fun and beautiful nature encounters.
The first morning I had the mission Clouded Apollo and within a minute Jacco found an old and damaged specimen. In the absence of a ‘better’ apollo I photographed this oldie which represents the charme of faded glory.
Some later Ed and Hans entered the meadow and two more apollo’s were climbing up to warm up. A few days later I entered the same meadow again but the Clouded Apollo’s were gone.
During my stay I counted 53 butterfly species and as the temperatures were rising, day by day more butterflies emerged. On the first day Gerard showed me a yellow chrysalis which probably was a brenthis species but we did not exactly know which one. On Friday the 13th Marielle witnessed the ‘birth’ of the butterfly and we found out that it was the Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis daphne).
An other big surprise was the discovery of a Large Copper which I found in the evening with a lot of wind. I decided to skip an other trip the next morning and returned together with Marielle to the area with the Large Copper. Just that morning it was cloudy and due to one big and dark cloud we had to wait extra long before the sun came out to show the brilliant coppery colour.
Next to all the beautiful butterflies we also found some Stag Beetles, snakes, lizards, a dormouse and on the last day as dessert the Rosalia longicorn.
More photos can be found in the Gallery A -> Z under Hungary.
Unfortunately the week went by too quick and I’m looking forward to our next trip together!
First, I would like to thank everybody for the fun and nice conversations we had together and especially I would like to thank Gerard and Frank for their efforts to make this possible!
Every year I try to pay a visit to the Eifel for at least one time; this year, within a week I travelled twice to the Eifel together with young talented photographer Bas Mandos. Our first visit started in the rain and ended in the sun and I was happy to see that the amount of butterflies was recovered (see my 2012 blog).
During our second visit, against expectations we found next to the Bog Fritillary also the Violet Copper resting on Common Bistort, their favourite food and larval plant. Both species I photographed in the nineties on slide and since then their amount decreased dramatically (on the places I knew).
Fortunately the Violet Copper was present in large amounts and the weather (cloudy with sunshine inbetween) was perfect. I 'catched' them resting and/or drinking and it was a joy to observe and photographing them in their beautiful habitat.
Like last year I also met some other facebook friends, an 'uncommon' butterfly photographer and some orchid fans which gave me information where I can search in 2015 for new species.
More photos are added in the butterfly gallery: Germany - Eifel -> 2014.
In a few days I will leave to an other butterfly and nature paradise, the Bükk National Park in Hungary. There I will meet some other photographers and I hope some very beautiful butterflies.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.