After Yellow is it the turn to White. The poet's narcissus is growing in the wild on the higher meadows of the Cevennes. A part of them was already be out of flower but when we visited the Mont Lozere I found a kind of moor area with a lot of pink orchids and a lot of flowering white daffodils. As my clothes already were soaked by the dew, I did not doubt to lie down in the wet area for a lower position. The early sunlight came over the mountain and lightened up a part of the background for some seconds.
There was one butterfly species which we found everywhere....the Black-veined White. The first days we found single butterflies but after days with higher temperatures we found them resting in groups and/or mating. Near a road I found two butterflies which were heavy in love but taking a sharp close-up of their wings was'nt easy due to a lot of passing cars and trucks.....they (the wind they caused) ruined my composition and depth of focus.
Both Whites were freshly emerged and the difference in colour and size between male (white and smaller) and female (yellowish and larger) is visible.
Recently I returned from a nice and warm week in the Cevennes. Together with Hans, Marielle, Mees, Debbie, Jacco, Frank and Gerard (the Palinka club) I searched for 'special' butterflies. The first morning after arrival we visited some beautiful flower meadows but it was cold and very windy. Almost immediately we found a resting Queen of Spain Fritallary so I had good hope to find more and particularly not common fritallaries that week.
But also in the Cevennes the amount of butterflies was lower than normal due to a cold spring. During our stay the temperatures were rising day by day and the number of butterflies were growing every day. But, the two species which I hoped to see/photograph I did not find.
Yesterday I visted some Belgian Bee Orchids and while I was photographing them I became happier and happier because of their funny contagious smile.
A special word of thanks goes to Manfred and Helma which I met in the Eifel last week and who made this visit possible; without their help I would never have found these beautiful orchids!
Next year I will surely visit them again! Now it's time to prepare my visit to the Cevennes.....a nostalgic feeling already came up when I found the 'old' Cevennes map with a price ticket in French francs....it was in 1997 that I visited that area for the last time. In 1997 the Cevennes was a walhalla for butterflies (I remember the amount of hairstreaks, coppers and fritillaries) so I'm very curious what I will find next week.
Every year I visit my 'old' spots in the Eifel; due to the heavy weather last week I was curious if and how this area survived the heavy rain. The area looked very well and within minutes after arrival I found this Black-veined White on a group of White Daisies; the first sunlight gave the meadow a fantastic atmosphere! Later I searched in the shadow parts but like last year I could not find any other butterfly. As the sun was rising quickly I decided to visit an other spot and fortunately I found some other resting butterflies in the shadow....unfortunately just a few but enough to enjoy them.
As I was curious if I had missed the butterflies, I returned to the first spot and observed the meadow for some time....in the distance one brown copper was flying.
As I had not much time, this was a short visit. If possible, I will visit this spot again after my return from France to search for the Black Hairstreak. While I was driving home I remembered a visit to this spot, I think it was in 2007 or 2008 with Henri and Bob, when the meadow was full of butterflies and I needed to make a choice which one/species first....these were the golden years!
The First Supper
A lot of fennel was growing in the meadows of the accomodation in France and with a lot I mean hundreds of plants. So it was no surprise that the Swallowtail was a regular visitor and that the females were laying eggs. But when I liked to photograph an egg a few days later the egg was gone; instead I found some fat ants. I watched this proces, called nature, some days and decided to intervene. I took some fennel with yellow eggs and put it outside in the window-sill of the accomodation. Afer a few day, more by accident, I noticed a little dark spot and after I found my glasses I noticed that the dark spot was a hatching egg. With my MP-E 65 mm I could follow the birth but there was too much wind outside to photograph this proces. After the birth this tiny little caterpillar started to eat the egg shell and inbetween he took a break....time for me to make some photos. Ever tried to photograph something with a longer shuttertime on a fennel leaf?
The leaves of fennel are always in motion. After some photos I relooked them in the screen of my camera and could see that the tiny caterpillar started in the choosen (higher) position and after some shots he was that low that I needed to change again the compositon. Fortunately I had enough time that day to repeat that proces again and again and again. I'm happy that I can add this young caterpillar (5:1 magnification) to my personal Swallowtail image collecion.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.