First I wish you all Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2020!
Merry Christmas - Prettige kerstdagen - Frohe Weihnachten - Joyeux Noël
2019 was a great and lovely year, the year that I became 50, the year that I enjoyed four month of vacation and photographed a lot of butterflies, the year of having fun & good conversations with close friends.....but also the year of saying goodbye to three beloved pets. Yesterday, on Christmas Eve we had to say goodbye to our beloved cat Dizzy. I found Dizzy in the summer of 2007; she was very ill with big bald spots in her fur. Fortunately she recoverd and as my childeren loved watching Bob the Builder we named her after the funny orange machine.
The last weeks it was obvious that Dizzy was very ill, the vet diagnosed a big tumor in her mouth and there was nothing we could do for her anymore except to let her go. Without Wanda, Hugo and Dizzy it's very quit but as long as I live here I will keep/take no more new cats....too much hunters/cat haters and crazy car drivers.
Not that I'm posting no butterfly pictures anymore, but the loss of Dizzy was the third in a row and she definitely deserves a photo to remember in my blog.
In January 2018 I found two dumped kittens in the forest and named them Hugo & Boss. Both were very funny, sweat, full of energy and cuddly. Boss was hit by a car in September 2018 and today Hugo lost his life on the same tragic way.....and for your information......I live in a speed limited zone of 30 km/h. The worst thing is that nobody stopped to look after them!
Three weeks ago Wanda got a terrible headache and problems with her hind legs....from the beginning it was obvious that something seriously was wrong in her brains. Thanks to the vet and strong medicine she recovered for almost two weeks
Unfortunately after two weeks the symptoms on her legs returned and after some terrible epileptic seizures it was time to let her go. Last Wednesday she crossed the rainbow bridge.
I miss her a lot and our walks in the forest, our encounters with deers and other animals, searching mushrooms with her, searching caterpillars of the swallowtail with her....she always accompanied me and with her I felt safe. RIP my dear Wanda.
This morning started in an unknown area to search for the Queen of Spain Fritillary, with its large pearly spots it's one of the most beautiful European butterflies. I must admit that I thought that it would be much easier to find this species than it was. Finally, long after sunrise, we (I was 'en route' with Gerard and Frank) found five resting fritillaries which were well hidden in the shrubs.
Although we had to search long, it was a wonderful morning! After the last part of the field was lit by the sun, we returned to the parking area for a cup of coffee and home made 'Kuchen'.
Unfortunately two weeks ago my sabbatical ended and after four months of doing fun stuff I'm back to 'normal'. At this moment 'normal' means working and feeding caterpillars of the Swallowtail which is hard work as I found more than 100 caterpillars on one carrot field! From an other carrot field I collect fresh food and the last days I found there 25 caterpillars too. As the farmer told me that one of the fields will be harvest soon, I bring home every caterpillar to breed/release them.
Yesterday, when I came home from work, the first two butterflies were emerged so I tried to 'catch' them this morning with the rising sun but unfortunately I could not see any sunrise at all as my garden is surrounded by corn fields.
Everything comes to an end and I already miss the coffee and view on the Col d'Allos. Two weeks Mercantour/Haute Alpes went by too fast but fortunately I have photos which gives me a big smile. Next to the Scarce Copper also the Apollo was a butterfly I was longing for to see and photograph again. The first encounter was in the National Park but I was not really satisfied with the result as the sun was shining by the time I arrived and they were resting at a steep slope. The second meeting was more a surprise as we expected to find fritillaries and yellows but instead we found a lot of apollo's. And the good thing about this Apollo spot is that nearby is a 'auberge' with good coffee/breakfast.
At arrival I was happy with the first Damon Blue not knowing that after two weeks it would be one of the most common butterflies. The males are coloured shiny metallic blue and I had to catch them with open wings.....not that easy as they move or fly away immediately as soon as I create some shadow over them. In the seccond week we found a lot of them in the grass and on one spot we found three resting couples.
I also searched for the Niobe Fritillary on the Col d'Allos but in the first week I could not find them. I was very happy when I found the first one and it just seemed that my eyes had to get used to them as from that moment on I found the second and third one and the days after we found much more.
Two weeks Mercantour/Haute Alpes c'est fini.....time to make new plans voor 2020!
After eleven days Mercantour my favorite spot is definitely the Col d'Allos which we visited already five times. Every morning was completely different and a kind of surprise what we will find. After a stormy and rainy day last weekend most of the yellow flowers (Arnica montana) are gone but they are still popular as this morning I found some species sleeping on/under them.
Since the trip to Hungary in 2014 I had good hope to find the Scarce Copper one day again and last week it happened on the Col d'Allos. I was very happy with the first butterfly but catching him with open wings was impossible as he flew away as soon as I created some shadow. A few days ago I found a little area near the Col which they prefer to sleep/hide during the night. After two mornings/attemps I'm happy with the result:
After every tour on the Col d'Allos we finished the morning with a delicous 'petit dejeuner' at the Refuge. It's a privilege to enjoy the spectaculair view with a good cup of coffee and a memory card full of beautiful butterflies!
This morning I drunk a good cup of coffee on the place I was longing for.....the Col d'Allos. Together with Frank and Gerard I'm in back in the Mercantour for two weeks and after three days I can not complain.....the amount of butterflies in this region is excellent!
The only thing I can complain about is the fact that a beautiful part of the Allos mountain where a lot of blue species were flying is gone.....bulldozers are pushing large quantaties of sand for a new ski piste.
One week ago I visited the Eifel area again with friends to find out that all meadows were mown the days before. Finding resting fritillaries like the Lesser Marbled Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary or Queen of Spain Fritillary was a mission impossible and the reason that I photographed species like the Marbled White and Black-veined White which I already found in the Vosges.
My hunger for fritillaries was that big that we decided to visit the small moor area again to search for the Cranberry Fritillary. Within a few minutes I found the first one near the path and some later the second one, also near the path on heather.
Same procedure as every Eifel-day.....we ended this trip with a delicious Kaffee & Kuchen!
The second month of my sabbatical went by very quickly and I'm halfway through. After a trip to the Eifel (see my former blog) I'm in the Vosges now for almost three weeks and I'm enjoying fresh butterflies every day.
It all started with some Black-veined Whites and Heath Fritillaries followed by the False Heath Fritillary, Marbled White, White Admiral and Marbled Fritillary. While I'm sitting inside (it's too hot outside) and writing this blog, the first Lesser Purple Emperor and Silver-washed Frittilary came by.
Five days left in the Vosges and I hope that I will 'catch' the Emperors again!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.