Since days we have one storm after the other in The Netherlands. Eunice was a very heavy storm and in the evening I heard a tree falling down near the house. It was an old oak which had lost the majority of its top. After storm Eunice was gone I was out to see the damage and....to search for eggs of the Purple Hairstreak. Within one hour search I found 10 eggs on branches that lay on the ground.
Unfortunately today it's too wet and stormy again outside to search for more butterfly eggs so I started to make plans and reservations for some butterfly trips this year. Again I will visit the Aosta - Gran Paradiso region this summer.....I can't wait to go back to this lovely mountain area and search alpine butterfly species.
It's almost time to say goodbye to 2021. Due to the pandemic my childeren missed for the second year in row a lot of school lessons and for my daughter it was in juli very exciting if she would pass her exam. Fortunately she graduated from high-school!
Again the pandemic caused for a lot travel restrictions but luckily I was able to visit my house in the Vosges during the butterfly season and together with Frank & Gerard I made a trip to the Aosta valley region. 2021 was also a year of personal changes and farewells.
Now I'm ready for 2022! I'm looking forward to new butterfly trips and positive energy! If possible, I would like to travel a few weeks during the summer trough the Aosta valley and other mountain area's. So fingers crossed that my 'boss' will be cooperative!
I wish you all a very happy, healthy and positive 2022!
It's unbelievable how quickly two weeks can pass by. Last Saturday Frank, Gerard and I left the Aosta - Gran Paradiso region with reluctance but with full memory cards. Aosta has the perfect mix of beautiful butterfly species and impressive mountain/valley landscapes and meadows full of alpine flowers.
Despite the spots we visited were situated in the National Parc, the wild flower meadows were used by farmers with large groups of cattle and within a day all flowers (with caterpillars on it) were consumed by the hungry cows. On Sainfoin I found a lot of caterpillars of different blue species (mostly protected by ants); unfortunately they were all eaten by cows as after a day the complete meadow was empty/destroyed.
Although I'm not a species 'hunter' I hoped to find some species during our trips like the Silvery Argus, the rare Piedmont anomalous Blue, the Meleager's Blue, the Alpine Argus or the Lofty Bath White.....except the Apine Argus we found them all!
Unfortunately tomorrow will be my last day in Aosta. Two weeks went by so fast....although I must admit that I miss my beloved ones.
Until now we counted 71 different butterfly species and the number will rise as we must determine a few skippers yet. Some skippers are very hard to determine when they are wet and covered with dew/raindrops.
It's hard to believe but the Titania Fritillary and the Dark Green Fritillary are the most common butterflies which we found in Aosta. The amount of butterflies is not very high in the National Parc (I guess due to the colder weather) and it was hard work finding roosting butterflies in the morning. The first meadows were already mown and/or empty by hungry cattle. A few times I tried to catch some butteflies with open wings....not easy in the mountains with a lot of clouds and/or hard sunlight. But these two red gentlemen were cooperative for a few moments:
Last year I was overwhelmed by the Aosta - Gran Paradiso region that I wanted to return in 2021. Just in time travelling was possible again and last Saturday Frank, Gerard and I returned to 'our accommodation' with Mont Blanc view. The weather is colder and more windier comparing to last year which results in lower amounts of butterflies. But, I will not complain as after five days we counted 50 different butterfly species!
The second morning we visited our favorite spot from last year and found only four species....two of them in larger numbers....the Geranium Argus and Alpine Heath.
Yesterday morning we found 6 Titania's Fritillary roosting in a little bog meadow and we also found this species as caterpillar and chrysalis.
Every evening after dinner Gerard and I go out and search for butterlies around the accommocation/small hamlet and until now every evening we found an apollo:
This spot is perfect as except butterflies it has two benches 'for us' to watch and enjoy the butterflies!
Since my trips to the Mercantour I was longing for a photo of the Grisons Fritillary on which the difference, the pearly row, between this species and the Heat Fritillary is clearly visible! In Aosta - Gran Paradiso I found them!
Except butterflies I miss the great view of our accommodation, the delicious ripe gorgonzola and the good italian wine......and last but not least the company of my two friends Frank & Gerard. I hope to return to this lovely place in 2021.
It's hard to believe that I left this butterfly paradise almost three weeks ago....I miss this mountain area with its butterfly spots badly! Like I wrote before, one spot was my favorite as it was the 'main supplier' for my Aosta - Gran Paradiso gallery.
We visited this spot four times with a small interval and every visit it seems that the selection of butterflies was changed. And I'm convinced that this place has much more to offer.....so I will return for sure to this area!
From the terrace of our accommodation we had a great view to the Mont Blanc. Although I knew this beforehand I was too much focussed on butterflies that I forgot my 35-350mm lens at home. So when the Mont Blanc showed up after a few days I had the choice using my 100mm or 180 mm macro lens.
Photographing butterflies in the Aosta-Gran Paradiso area was a long cherised wish. During our stay we counted more than 80 different butterfly species. One spot was our favorite one which we visited four times and during every visit we found some 'for Dutch butterfly photographers' rare and beautiful species like the Geranium Argus and this Silvery Argus:
Yesterday I returned from a fantastic two weeks stay with Gerard & Frank in the Aosta-Gran Paradiso area in Italy. We had a great accommodation with Monte Bianco view on almost 1500 m in a small hamlet which was surrounded by meadows full of butterflies!
Every evening Gerard and I were searching for butterflies near the accommocation and almost every evening we found at least one roosting Apollo (next to a lot of other species). During our stay we visited a lot of places/valleys/meadows every morning and mostly it was 'hard' work finding butterflies; I expected larger numbers. But, I will not complain as we found beautiful (fresh) species surrounded by impressive nature!
The discovery of a Pearl-bordered Fritally on geranium was one of my highlights as this species is very hard to find roosting.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.