Although we finally have summer temperatures since almost one week, the amount of butterflies is extremely low. It's 'hard working' in the evening to find ONE roosting butterfly. Almost every evening I'm searching for butterflies but to find ONE is difficult and it's more difficult to find one who is sitting in that part of the area where the sun is going down. Fortunately a few days ago I found ONE on the right spot....a Brown Argus.
In a few days my holiday will start, first with a trip to the Vosges/France followed by a trip to Aosta - Gran Paradiso/Italy again. Three weeks with good company and I hope a lot of beautiful butterflies!
Together with a good friend I visited a lot of areas in The Netherlands and Belgium during the last weeks. The amount of butterflies was disappointing low. Since two days we finally have nice weather so yesterday evening I gave it a try again in my favorite 'Kleine Beerze' area but I did not find any butterfly or dragonfly at all. I drove to a second spot where I normally can find very easy roosting butterflies next to a path.....after a long search at last I found ONE butterfly, a Small Heath, just a few minutes before sunset.
Since a few weeks I'm a regular vistor of the 'Vivara Natuurtuin' near Vierlingsbeek/The Netherlands. Ten years ago this garden rised on 2,4 ha in the middle of an intensive agriculture area and it's a paradise for all kind of animals including butterflies. A few days ago I visited this garden during the day and noticed some freshly emergd Small Coppers, a Small Heath and a Brown Argus. Before sunset I returned and found them well camouflaged roosting. The next morning the Small Coppers and Small Heath were disappeared without a trace. As the plants on which they had roosted were completely intact, I guess they were eaten during the night by bats.....fortunately this Brown Argus survived the night:
Since my last blog we have cold and windy weather in the Netherlands. Therefore the amount of butterflies is disappointing low....during the day I notice some white and admirals species but early in the morning I only find roosting Orange-tips.
Yesterday morning I visited big meadows full of Cuckoo-flowers near Nijmegen but the trees in the distance unfortunately blocked the rising sun.
That is why I returned to the Maasheggen this morning again. Although the meadows of the Maasheggen are surrounded by bushes and trees too, I was lucky on this national 'orange' holiday & birthday of a friend, to catch the sun just in time!
Yesterday, on April 1st I photographed my first butterfly of 2021. The day before it was 25 degrees and in the afternoon I saw some freshley emerged butterflies in my garden like Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Orange-tip. The (flower) plants in my garden have just awakened from winter and they all just started sprouting which means that the Orange-tips have no flowering roosting plants. Instead they choose flowering bushes and fruit trees.
This was a good starter and I'm already longing for more butterflies and other compositions....but I need to be patience as cold weather returned already.
Two weeks ago the world outside was covered with a layer of snow and since last Saturday the Brimstones are active again. Ten days ago it was freezing and today the thermometer reached 19,2 degrees. What a crazy difference in temperature!
But, I will nog complain as I love to see flying yellow butterflies again (until now I did not see other hibernating butterfly species).
Autumn has arrived and the rain forced me today to stop my garden activities and to make it myself comfortable inside. It is time to look back to some remarkable moments this year. One of these moments was a discovery early May in my butterfly/chrysalis cage: two butterflies of the Western Dappled White emerged after three years of beeing a chrysalis!!!!
Unintentionally I collected them as egg/young caterpillar in 2017 when I was in France. Back home I noticed that I had more caterpillars than intended and when they were all transformed into chrysalises I noticed that I had different species. After one year the majority emerged but a few stayed brown and I thought that they were dead. What a surprise after three years and what a clever tactic of nature!
Last Sunday I was 'en route' with Frank & Gerard again and we visited the same area as one year ago to search for the Queen of Spain Fritillary. We knew that the chance finding one of them was low. The first hour we did not find any living creature at all. But then we entered a meadow and found the first of 15 Small Coppers.
It's remarkable because the evening before I found two coppers roosting nearby my home and during my stay in the Vosges earlier, I photographed this species a few times. It looks like the third generation has better conditions than the first and second one!
Unfortunately all of them were roosting on places where it was impossible to catch them with the first or last warm light in the background. So I waited to catch them with open wings:
Although I found them in four different areas they had one thing in common....they were all roosting on brown/dead flower buds for optimal camouflage!
This morning I photographed the most beautiful fritillary we have in The Netherlands. As there was no wind I tried my MP-E 65 mm for the big pearly spot. With 4 x magnification the distance between the lens and subject was very small and the depth of field extremely low (always with this lens). After a few images the wind started blowing so I switched my camera again as I liked to photograph this species with open wings. I waited and waited but by the time the sun arrived the fritillary flew away. Do you know which butterfly species the 'owner' of this pearly spot is?
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.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.