While I was writing the former blog I looked at the chrysalis of the Comma Butterfly and saw a butterfly sitting above the empty chrysalis. I inspected the chrysalis the evening before extensively with a torch to find colour details but as I did not find any emerging sign I assumed the chrysalis was dead. The chrysalis/butterfly fooled me!
These days I could write daily a blog as so much interesting things are happening. Next to the Comma Butterfly I also had a chrysalis of the Red Admiral. Also this chrysalis did not have any colour changing signs and when I returned from my 'finding new caterpillars' tour I noticed that something else was sitting near the chryslis. It was a parasitoid wasp and looking at the hole in the chrysalis it was obvious where it came from.
Although I have no butterfly and missed the chance to photograph a sequence of an emergence, I was very happy to catch the parasitoid wasp on the photo. Normally they are gone very quickly and I only find an empty chrysalis.
Last Sunday morning I noticed that the two caterpillars of the Painted Lady were hanging upside down in the 'get ready to transform into a chrysalis' position. In the first place I was very happy that this occurs on Sunday and secondly that I had no appointments made for that day. With a cup of coffee and the camera in the right position I started waiting....and waiting....and waiting. Hours later, just when the light was perfect the caterpillar started to move up and down and up and down and....stopped.
Some later when the sky was painted black, the Painted Lady started to transform....and that's how it often goes....waiting for nothing!
In the meantime all the caterpillars of the Peacock are transformed into a chrysalis and in contrast to my former a lot of them fall victim to parasitoids.
A kind of 'worm' emerges the chrysalis through a slimy track, moves a bit and than it falls down to the ground to transform some later into a dark brown/black cocoon. At the moment about 50 to 60% of all chrysalises are brown with a slime path on it. Nature takes it course and while I'm writing this blog something unexpected is happening.....
Unfortunately the weather was too bad to photograph the process in their natural habitat outside, so inside, in front of a window with the garden in the background, I photographed some metamorphosises. One of the processes I catched from the front and on this sequence you can see how their little feet are moving up (actually it's the complete caterpillar skin) and disappear....instead a chrysalis appears. What an impressive spectacle!
Last Sunday I was walking in a beautful nature area together with an other nature photographer and we had a nice conversation about butterfly photography and the meaning of it (for me). Since I was a little girl, I was always interested in all stages of butterflies and I adored little, sometimes hairy caterpillars and allowed them to use my finger/hand to climb on.
For me butterfly photography is the hole life-cycle and not only a beautiful photo of the imago.
Twelve days ago everything started with the discovery of a Painted Lady caterpillar on a 'new' larval foodplant, Common Wormwood. Twelve days later the butterfly emerged and flew away.
Finding caterpillars always give me a certain kind of exitement and so I searched a lot last week and visited some area's with thistles and Stinging Nettles. The most caterpillars I did not find in nature area's but in my own garden and in the meadow of Mrs van de Breemortel. In my own garden I found caterpillars of the Map Butterfly which will emerge, depending on the weather, this year as forma prosa (black) or next year as forma levana (orange).
Since years I had the plan to create one day my own drive-in restaurant for butterflies with over-ripe fruit. As this is a very good fruit year and because there are more ripe prunes than there is capacity to make marmelade, eat them or bake prune pies, I feed the butterflies.
I took an old dish and filled it with very ripe or foulded and/or fermenting prunes and created my own drive-in restaurant for the Red Admiral. Sometimes a Comma Butterfly and/or Speckled Wood also visits my restaurant.
It's funny how many other insects like different kind of flies, bees and wasps come too and how quick the prunes are eaten. On sunny days I counted at least 20 Red Admirals!
Each day I had to fill the dish again with 'fresh' foulded prunes....their happy meal!
Yesterday, together with Bas I visited the beautiful Eifel region again with the mission to find the Chalkhill Blue (Polyommatus coridon) and some other rare butterflies. We found some hundreds of the Chalkhill Blue butterflies but unfortunately we had some bad luck with the weather. Shortly after arrival it became very dark in the distance and with some drizzling rain, some sunlight and a rainbow I made the last detail photos.
With the dark clouds a lot of heavy rain and wind came too. We decided to stay and to hide under the umbrella above the photo stuff. The heavy rain stopped after fifteen minutes, the stormy wind continued. The majority of the butterflies were resting below or in the grass; I found one male resting between a flower bud in the grass. With my beanbag and angle finder I was lying in the wet grass; due to the wind almost all the raindrops on/in the grass were gone.
Cause every time it rains,
You’re here in my head,
Like the sun coming out,
Ooh, I just know that something good is gonna happen.
© Kate Bush
Although it was raining, my intuïtion told me that a beautiful sunset would appear this evening......and so it happened! But my intuïtion did fail me regarding the fact that I returned to the mozzy country. During my two weeks holiday in Bayern/Germany I did not see one single mozzy (ok, I'm not talking about the amount of grey horse-flies and their painful bites) so I forgot the presence of mozzies....and my leggs are now looking like a complete crumble cake!
Everything has to come to an end.....two weeks holiday in the Bavarian Forest went by too quick unfortunately. The days that the weather was not against me were rare. I enjoyed the few mornings when my alarm clock went off early and with good music on Bayern 3 it was a pleasure to drive to the butterfly spots which I had discovered.
The first spot was a small field near the road to the Dreisessel mountain in which I found a lot of erebia’s, some Nickerl’s Fritillaries and Purple-edged Coppers and to which I returned just in time to catch one of the two sunrises of my two weeks stay.
Later I found near this spot the very endangered Cranberry Blue and some Violet Coppers (see the chapter Bayerischer Wald). The second spot which I visited three times were the Dusky Large Blue area (see my both former blogs).
The Dreisessel and the mountain tops nearby have some remarkable ‘hedgehog’ look because of the aggressive ( they attack and kill live trees) bark beetle.
I had the plan to visit the Dreisessel area very early before sunrise but due to a lot of rain and/or fog my plans will move to 2015 when I will return to the same accommodation/area.
It’s not often that I return to the same place, but Bayern and especially the people I met were special! And, last but not least the area is beautiful and has a lot of rare (endangerd) butterfly species to offer.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.