Unfortunately the trip to the Eifel went by too fast. The beer and food was excellent just like the company. The 'only' disappointing item were the low amount of butterflies at the old spots. Since almost 25 years I'm visiting these spots and the contrast between then and now is large. Some species are completely disappeared.
But, we also discovered two new area's and in one we found some hundreds of butterflies.....the majority was the Silver-studded Blue but it was a relief to find a place with a lot of fluttering.
Mission Bog Fritillary was not succesful, instead we found some Cranberry Fritillaries, a lot of Lesser Marbled Fritillaries and one resting Dark Green Fritillary.....together with the fun we had it was a pretty good Eifel trip!
Every year I visit my 'old' spots in the Eifel; due to the heavy weather last week I was curious if and how this area survived the heavy rain. The area looked very well and within minutes after arrival I found this Black-veined White on a group of White Daisies; the first sunlight gave the meadow a fantastic atmosphere! Later I searched in the shadow parts but like last year I could not find any other butterfly. As the sun was rising quickly I decided to visit an other spot and fortunately I found some other resting butterflies in the shadow....unfortunately just a few but enough to enjoy them.
As I was curious if I had missed the butterflies, I returned to the first spot and observed the meadow for some time....in the distance one brown copper was flying.
As I had not much time, this was a short visit. If possible, I will visit this spot again after my return from France to search for the Black Hairstreak. While I was driving home I remembered a visit to this spot, I think it was in 2007 or 2008 with Henri and Bob, when the meadow was full of butterflies and I needed to make a choice which one/species first....these were the golden years!
Recently, I visited my 'old' spots in the Eifel and while I was walking around I was wondering if there was something wrong with my eyes or if there were no butterflies. In a meadow where I found last year hundred of butterflies, I now did not find one single butterfly. It felt so unreal and uncommon!
My accompanist had more luck and found a Purple-edged Copper but as it was cloudy the wings of the butterfly were closed. As I photographed this species with closed wings two weeks earlier in Belgium, I had no need to hurry......until the sun started shining. Within a minute this rigid butterfly came alive and opened his wings. Yes, it was a male with one of my favourite colour combinations: orange, red and purple.
We visited an other meadow where we fortunately found some more butterflies and thanks to the Red-Backed Shrikes, I discovered a spot of the Black Hairstreak. Since a long time I knew that the spot was somewhere nearby, but I never found them until this year. While we were observing and photographing two Red-Backed Shrikes who were flying around but returning to the same tree and/or bushes, I noticed some wild-moving brown butterflies above some bushes. Unfortunately these small butterflies were too active and sitting too high in the bushes that photographing them was a mission impossible.
My plan to return soon to this spot vanished due to some other priorities. Meanwhile the flight of other butterfly species started and like each year it feels that I have not enough time.
Orange, red and purple,
this is why this species is called 'Purple-edged Copper'
Yesterday my day started delightful between orchids, birds and butterflies but ended dramatically. Together with a fellow photographer from the ‘Palinka’ club, I visited some ‘old’ favourite spots in the Eifel. About this trip I will write another time.
Together with two former colleagues, I had a dinner and while we were sitting outside on the terrace having an interesting conversation, we heard a loud noise, squealing brakes and witnessed how a small car made a full stop against a tree. The loud noise was the collision in full speed between the car and a young man on a scooter. Immediately some people from the terrace started with first aid and informed the emergency room. The first ambulance arrived soon but despite all the efforts of everybody, the young man, 18 years old, died.
The day ended with feelings of disbelief, sadness and grief that within one second a young life was taken away. Today I’m still silent; hoping that I will never never never receive a message like the parents of this young man did yesterday. My thoughts are with them!
We visited (without camera) an other (new) area for some investigations and probably we will visit this area again in 2015.
Cause every time it rains,
You’re here in my head,
Like the sun coming out,
Ooh, I just know that something good is gonna happen.
© Kate Bush
Every year I try to pay a visit to the Eifel for at least one time; this year, within a week I travelled twice to the Eifel together with young talented photographer Bas Mandos. Our first visit started in the rain and ended in the sun and I was happy to see that the amount of butterflies was recovered (see my 2012 blog).
During our second visit, against expectations we found next to the Bog Fritillary also the Violet Copper resting on Common Bistort, their favourite food and larval plant. Both species I photographed in the nineties on slide and since then their amount decreased dramatically (on the places I knew).
Fortunately the Violet Copper was present in large amounts and the weather (cloudy with sunshine inbetween) was perfect. I 'catched' them resting and/or drinking and it was a joy to observe and photographing them in their beautiful habitat.
Like last year I also met some other facebook friends, an 'uncommon' butterfly photographer and some orchid fans which gave me information where I can search in 2015 for new species.
More photos are added in the butterfly gallery: Germany - Eifel -> 2014.
In a few days I will leave to an other butterfly and nature paradise, the Bükk National Park in Hungary. There I will meet some other photographers and I hope some very beautiful butterflies.
Like every year, last weekend I visited my favourite butterfly area in the Eifel.
Entering the area I saw two men and one of them was greeting me with ‘Hello Silvia’. That was a nice welcome and they invited my to photograph ‘their’ Duke of Burgundy. Long live Facebook!
Comparing to last year, I fortunately found more butterflies but not the tremendous amount and variety of 2011. After I left my favourite area with Purple-edged Coppers and hundreds of Small Blue’s, I visited two big meadows full of Common Bistort but I couldn’t find one single fritillary. Instead, at every meadow which I visited I found the Duke of Burgundy, a butterfly which I haven’t seen there in June in the past 15 years!
I remember a visit of early June 2007 with some stress of not knowing which butterfly to photograph first and no shortage of fritillaries......I hope that one day I will have this luxury problem again!
More photo’s are added in my Gallery Butterflies -> Germany - Eifel -> 2013
An annual photo happening is my trip to the Eifel. Together with Gerard Schouten (also a passionate nature photographer) I visited this area a few days ago. We arrived early in the morning and just after one minute I found the first resting butterfly, a Chequered Skipper (Bont dikkopje) on a Black Rampion (Zwartblauwe rapunzel). I was happy and after I had taken some photos I walked up the hill searching for other butterflies.....after one hour a desperate feeling overwhelmed me.....where were the other butterflies??? Fortunately I found some orchids. After two hours I found a second and third Chequered Skipper and some later a Dingy Skipper (Bruin dikkopje), a Red-underwing Skipper (Kalkgraslanddikkopje) and one old Woodland Ringlet (Voorjaarserebia). Gerard found an old Common Blue (Icarusblauwtje); the total score of this area was 7 butterflies.......unbelievable!!!
Fortunately on an other place we found some Purple-edged Coppers (Rode vuurvlinder), Small Blues (Dwergblauwtje), Common Blues (Icarusblauwtje) and Dingy Skippers (Bruin dikkopje). A Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Zilveren maan) passed our camera’s and just at the moment we wanted to take a rest a talkative old ranger told us that it’s forbidden by German law to take photos in nature reserves and national parks. Thanks to him I read the “Bundesnaturschutzgesetz” (what else I can do on a free evening); 31 pages, at least more pages to read than butterflies in the Eifel and guess what......it’s not forbidden as long endangered species get not disturbed.
Early in the evening we drove to a valley for our last search for the Bog Fritillary (Ringoogparelmoervlinder). As I was a bit tired I decided not to take all the lenses with me.....why do I need the MP-E 65 mm as I have not seen any jumping spider all day long! We walked a while to find the meadow full of Common Bistort (Adderswortel) as the desired butterfly likes to rest on them. As a few things had changed there since my last visit I lost my orientation and so we walked into the wrong direction and while we were looking around I saw a ‘big’ jumping spider looking at me. I was happily surprised but also angry with myself not taken the MP-E 65 mm with me. With the 180 mm macro I took some photos and in contrast with ‘my’ other jumping spiders this one was very cooperative and stayed decently on the leaf.
Walking back we passed the meadow with Common Bistort but instead of butterflies two big feared eyes were looking at us within 5 metres....a Doe Deer was lying between the flowers and something was going on.....probably she had a little fawn or she had to deliver.....with my 180 mm I could have taken some photos but Gerard and I decided not to make any photo and to continue our way carefully without looking too much to her as in the first place we are nature lovers.
More photo’s are added in my Gallery Butterflies -> Germany - Eifel -> 2012
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.