It's almost two weeks ago that I visited the Eifel again together with the Jordan brothers. We visited a lot of spots and the only thing I can say....it was scary to see how the vegetation of some places had changed enormously. Flowers and larval foodplants are pushed away by grass and other quick growing plants. A small bog area was transformed into high grassland with a few bog flowers left. The amount of Bog Fritillaries was not bad but they were almost fighting about the flowers; the next morning we found two fritallaries on one flower next to the path.
Our wish was to find Lesser Marbled Fritillaries but the meadow in which we found a lot of them in 2018 was completely transformed....no larval foodplants, no flowers....only grass. Fortunately we found one butterfly near the path on its larval foodplant and by the time my camera was ready for the first photo the sun arrived and some seconds later the fritillary was gone.
Despite the low amount of butterflies we counted 28 species and we had a nice weekend with of course delicious 'Kaffee & Kuchen'.
Last weekend I visited the Eifel together with the Jordan brothers. The accommodation was booked in January so we decided to face the elements of a rainy and stormy weekend! On our way to the accommodation we visited an old location but we couldn't find much butterflies there. On a second location Gerard and Frank stayed wisely in the car; I went out searching butterflies but it was getting darker and darker.....partly drenched I returned to the car. We drove to a third location which we discoverd last year and after the rain stopped we tried again to find butterflies. Last year we visited this 'new' area one week earlier and we did not find much butterflies.
This year was different! On the big meadow I found a fresh Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and I was happy with the first butterfly at all. Some later Gerard found in a very small bog meadow surrounded by the forest a lot of Bog Fritillaries and some Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries....as the sky was getting darker again we decided after some photos to leave for dinner and to return the next morning.
On Saturday morning we had some moments with less wind but it was still a challenge to get sharp photos and within one hour the heavy wind returned. After breakfast we visited some other meadows and area's and at the moment I started photographing this Large Skipper the sun arrived and he flew away.
Sunday morning we visited a large area and very soon Gerard found a fresh Purple-edged Copper and when I photographed this butterfly a soft sun arrived and for some minutes the light was fantastic. Unfortunately it started raining again and the biting midges became very active but I will not complain as we found some beautiful fresh butterflies in this area!
The only thing that I missed was our favorite 'Kaffee & Kuchen' place which was closed due to the corona rules.
Eifel 2019 part II
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!
Visiting a certain area in the Eifel was on my wish list during my sabbatical and last Thursday, I visited this area together with Gerard and Frank. Immediately we noticed the difference in vegetation, caused by the drought, comparing to last year. Fortunately we immediately saw some fluttering butterflies, including two Bog Fritillaries. The next morning we returned and found one of them in the area he was flying around the day before....looking for butterflies in the late afternoon is very often time-saving.
The second morning we visited an 'old' area with the mission the Duke of Burgundy which we noticed the day before.....this time the visit in the afternoon before was not time-saving as we could not find any of them. Because this species is not resting on a plant or in grass we waited until the sun was shining and all other butterfly species were flying around.....but unfortunately no sign of life of the Dukes.
On our way back to the hotel we decided to stop for a 'quick look' in an other area and after a few footsteps there he was.....the Duke of Burgundy. We created some shadow on the place where he was warming up and fortunately he did not fly away and all three of us had time enough to photograph this beautiful butterfly:
With this image in the pocket we were completely statisfied......especially Gerard!
After a late breakfast we visited the Bog Fritillary area again which was crowded. Fortunately one of the visitors was an 'old' butterfly friend which I had not seen/spoken for years and it was very nice to meet him again!
The last morning we visited this area again with the hope to find a resting Violet Copper but instead we found four resting Bog Fritillaries. In four weeks we will visit the Eifel again as some species were not emerged yet.
Although the year has just started, I'm longing for butterflies already!
2019 will be a special year for me as during the butterfly season I'm off for four months. My sabbatical will start and end with a trip to the southern part of France and in a few days, together with some friends I will plan some trips for the months in between. A visit to the area in which we photographed this Black-veined White will be on my wish list for 2019.
Eifel 2018 part III
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!
Eifel 2018 part II
Part II was a kind of unforeseen visit to a new area with the mission to find the Bog Fritillary. The mission was successful but it was almost a matter of life and death as during the drive to the area the streets were drenched with water and when we arrived at the area, thunder and lightning 'decided' to hang around above the area. Everytime when I stepped out of the car to give it a try, lighting came down to me followed by thunder within some seconds. Finally I capitulated and we returned to the hotel without seeing any butterfly.
The next morning the weather conditions were fantastic and after a short search I found two resting Black-veined Whites each on an orchid. The honour of finding the fritillaries goes to Gerard!
As our mission was successful, on our way back we ended our trip with the German tradition 'Kaffee und Kuchen' and started making plans for the next trip.
Eifel 2018 part I
My alarm clock went off very early totday to pay a visit to the Violet Coppers and Bog Fritillaries, 2014 was the last time I visited this area. Although we have summer temperatures, the area was very cool and wet. The vegetation was lower than in 2014 and there were very little flowering Common Bistort plants; instead I noticed some Cuckoo flowers. I searched and searched but after two hours I only found a resting Sooty Copper and not any Violet Copper or Bog Fritillary. When the sun arrived, the Violet Coppers arrived.....I guess they were resting in the bushes near the trees as none of them had dewdrops on their wings.
With the Violet Coppers the hard light arrived and it was a crime to photograph them. With my hand I created some shadow over them but they don't like it and after one or two photo's they were gone. The majority were male butterflies which have a bluish/violet sheen on all wings.
The Bog Fritillary must wait....in three weeks I will be back in the Eifel with some friends and if we catch this species we will have some extra sized 'Kaffee & Kuchen'.
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!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.