Yesterday evening I found again a butterfly on dandelion in my garden so my alarm clock went off early this morning. Because there was a strong wind I built a kind of wind-protection-wall with crates....unfortunately the wind came from the same direction as the sun was rising that I capitulated after a lot of unsharp photo's. Some later I saw the first reflections of the sun in the window of the chicken shed and after a look into my viewfinder I started photographing again. Fortunately I have some sharp images and while I was editing these files I was listening to a masterpiece of music from Mike Oldfield which brought me back to 1984.
I will not complain about my neighbours but they have a different relationship with nature than I and in their opinion a garden must be clean and empty. Years ago they were talking a little bit too loud to friends about my 'gribus zooi' mess garden'.
This morning I was thinking about this comment and that due to my messy garden I could stay at home for photographing butterflies....because they love my messy garden with dandelions!
Last week I visited the meadows (Maasheggen) near the Meuse three times; these meadows are characteristic as they are small and surrounded by blackthorn and hawthorn shrubs. The shrubs are full of (nesting) birds and in front of/near the shrubs I found some roosting Orange-tips. One of these mornings was a special one as the sky was extremely coloured red for a long time .
For more than an hour I photographed the above female Orange-tip with the rising sun and on my way back to the car I checked the other female Orange-tip and saw the beautiful orange reflections in the background. Fortunately just in time!
For months I was longing for them and finally they have emerged....the first Orange-tips. One week ago I found some meadows near the Meuse with a lot of cuckoo-flowers to which I returned this morning. Entering this area in the dark was a great experience with barking deers and screaming owls....I was glad that I was in good company!
Actually I wanted to catch the Orange-tip together with the rising sun but due to heavy vegetation around the meadow, the first orange light together with some fog arrived in my composition about 15 minutes after sunrise and disappeared again within a minute.
Unfortunately not much orange light for me this morning but I will not complain as I enjoyed being outside again and searching for butterflies!
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!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.