For some time I was wondering if I could change the camera brand. Since 1991 I'm very loyal to Canon but the last years felt like Canon had 'missed the boat'.
A few days ago I decided to give up my loyalty and bought a new camera from Sony....the 7RM2. From today my Canon 7DMKII will retire after > 100000 shutter counts as back-up camera.
As I was overwhelmed by the Mercantourtrip last summer, I decided to return in 2019 and of course I will visit the Mountain Fritillary spot near the Col d'Allos again together with my new workhorse and I hope some friends!
The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) is one of the loyal visitors to my garden. Two weeks ago I saw the last of them on flowering Ivy. As this species is a migratory butterfly and the weather switched from summer into autumn a few days ago, they probably on their way to the south now. With their departure it's time to look back to a wonderful butterfly season and making plans for the next one!
With these temperatures, 28 degrees on 13 October, it was not really a surprise that the first Swallowtails emerged. Although I did my very best to keep them as cool as I can, two of them were born yesterday....it is just too warm....again we have a 'canicule' (one of the first new words I learned in french lesson last week).
This morning I tried to catch them in my garden with the rising sun but it was'n easy with a new big factory farm in the background. I guess, it's time to leave to France!
Due to this fabulous summer, I found some caterpillars of the Swallowtail. First in July on a carrot field which was gathered the day after and second in August on fennel. I received some fresh fennel to feed them and when they were all almost grown and pupated I discovered a tiny little caterpillar which was just born....so the complete story continued. Last Monday evening I run out of food for the last caterpillar as my fennel is empty. I drove to a carrot field and found immediately a tiny little caterpillar. Although it was getting dark I searched on a place with high weed between the carrots (a sign that this piece of land was not treated with poison) and found 11 caterpillars:
As these caterpillars are very hungry and as I wanted to search for more caterpillars I drove to the carrot field this morning. Big machines were busy and the wilder part with weed was already completely gone.
How many swallowtails we would have in the Netherlands when some of the carrot field would not be gathered?
For the first time in weeks, my alarm clock went off early this morning and together with Frank & Gerard I had the mission to find some Small Coppers and other butterflies in an area which we visited more often.
To make a long story short.....we only found ONE Common Blue and ONE Small Heath. Sometimes, like today, ONE is enough to make my day!
The trip ended in tradition on a sunny terrace with delicious coffee & apple pie. I could get used to this!
After two months with a lot of trips this is the first weekend that I'm home without engagements and that I have time to look back to the trips, selecting and enjoying photos. On July 5th the trip to the Mercantour started and together with Hans, Gerard and Frank (Palinka Club) I left for a short stay/starter in the Bugey.
After 820 km we reached our accommodation in the afternoon, it was time for a cold starter under a big tree and to relax after the drive. Fortunately the dinner was served in accordance with French traditions so we had time to discover the area and search for butterflies. On a wild flower meadow we noticed some big orange butterflies and waited near the meadow until they went to rest. The next morning we returned (too early as it was almost dark at arrival) and after a long and heavy rainshower we found back some of the butterflies. A nice starter for this trip was the Niobe Fritillary which I never photographed before.
Next to the Niobe Fritillary we found in the same meadow three resting Dark Green Fritillaries. Although we only had one day in this beautiful region, we counted 34 butterfly species.
I followed the same procedure as every year and visited the first morning after arrival in Bayern (Germany) ‘my’ Dusky Large Blue spot and again a part of their habitat was gone. I searched for more than hour but I could not find any butterfly.
This morning I visited the spots near the Dreisesselmountains but the spotes were empty....besides no butterflies it was striking that on the flowers of the thistles I did not see a single resting bumble-bee. I decided to return to the Dusky Large Blue spot and finally I found my first resting butterfly on Great Burnet, a False Dusky Large Blue aka Small Heath:
A characteristic of the Small Heath is that he is mostly resting in a kind of twisted position and a 100% sharp photo is hard to realize (without disturbing the butterfly).
A few minutes later a found an other butterfly on Great Burnet and fortunately it was not a false one!
An other highlight from the Mercantour/Haute-Alpes trip was the rebellious family member of the Alcon Blue, which looks very simillar but who prefers an other larval foodplant, the cross-leaved gentian (gentiana cruciata), it was nice to 'meet' the Mountain Alcon Blue!
The day before we explored the area and we found a lot of active butterflies; Frank discovered a couple of this species who were busy with the 2019 generation.
It was a pleasure to see that this species was doing well and that a lot of them were flying around. In a few days I hope to meet a family member of this species during my holiday in Germany.
Yesterday evening I found a nice surprise in my garden while I was watering the plants. At first sight I thought that it was a Common Blue until he opened his wings and I saw a lot of brown with orange......a Brown Argus! I have never seen this species before in my garden or in the neighbourhood.
It's a good appetizer to start my holiday with as tomorrow I will travel to the Mercantour for a week together with some members of the Palinka club.
Third time's a charm! Although we had cloudy, windy and cold weather during our stay, on both mornings the sun broke through the clouds on the right moment and created a magical atmosphere. Saturday morning it was the honour of the Lesser Marbled Fritillary and on Sunday of the Dark Green Fritillary:
Next to some 'old' spots, we also visited the two 'new'spots which we discovered last year. On the new spots the amount of butterflies was much lower than last year while on the old spots we found more butterflies (and species). In the area of the Cranberry Fritillary the number of the larval foodplant declined and the area looked different.
Fortunately we found one Cranberry Fritillary but photographing him was a real challenge because of the heavy wind. Caused by desperation we (Gerard did it perfect) played a certain figure from 'Van Kooten & de Bie' (you need to be Dutch to understand this) and next to a lot of fun we had some sharp photos!
Our Eifel trip ended with a delicious Kaffee & Kuchen!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.