Today it's the 12th day that Greece is burning around Alexandroupolis....the area which we visited in Spring 2022 to find and photograph the False Apollo. It was one of the last European spots of this beautiful butterfly species.
Places which we visited are gone, national forest are gone, a lot of dead animals which were helpless in the flames....it's unbelievable how big this tragedy is. The animals who survived the flames will starve as there is nothing to eat anymore.
This photo below is taken by satellite two days ago....
The two spots of the False Apollo are completely hit by the fire....the only hope I have is that this species hibernates as a chrysalis and that the larval food plant can survive fires and come up again next spring. So let's hope that there are enough chrysalises survived the fire.
A lot of people are busy fighting the fire and to help all the animals that have been rescued; if anybody is looking for a dog please consider adoption from Greece/Alexandroupolis!
The effect of this tragedy will hit us all as this area (including Dadia National Forest) was a green and very important lifeline of our planet. With this lost of, on the 28th of August it was almost 81000 hectares, global warming will go quicker and quicker!
Not the happiest blog but it bothers me that the majority of people live as there is a second planet earth!
On the fourth day of being in Greece I saw my first False Apollo (Archon apollinus), a male, and some seconds later I saw the second one flying around. It was warm and sunny and they were very active. Making a decent photo of them was impossible as they like to sit low on the ground. After a beautiful day with lot of imperfect images I decided to come back two days later early in the morning. The larval foodplants of the False Apollo are Birtwort (aristolochia) species which are also the foodplants of the Southern and Eastern Festoon.
Twice I found a roosting Southern Festoon (Zerynthia polyxena); the Eastern Festoon (Zerynthia cerisy) was an other story as I only saw male butterflies around noon which were rushing past.....without tripod I followed one and finally I have one shot:
The Southern Festoon is a more lazy flyer, not that quick as the Eastern one, and much easier to photograph but like the False Apollo they like to sit on spots near/on the ground with a lot of disturbing elements around. After I had found the second roosting Southern Festoon I waited until he opened his wings.
Finding the exact locations of the False Apollos (archon apollinus) took me a few days as I needed warmth and sunshine to see them flying. We had cold days (8 degrees max) with a lot of wind (force 5)....impossible to find the False Apollo.
After being three days in Greece I finally found the first spot with at least 4 False Apollos flying around. Shortly after our arrival a mini-group (with a big butterfly net) arrived with the same goal....photographing the False Apollo. I took some 'shots' of a female of the False Apollo but not the kind of photos I'm longing for. Because this species is feeding from flowers low above the ground it's very difficult to make 'my kind of photo's' from this species without disturbing elements. As it was the first warm day a lot of other butterfly species were flying around too and I was happy to see two mating pairs of butterflies:
After two hours the mini-group left this spot and we were alone again....sitting under a big tree we observed the butterflies the rest of the day and noticed that the False Apollo like to dive into the bushes of grass in the afternoon to survive the night.
From the websites of two tour operators I learned that there would be a chance that one or both tour groups will return to this False Apollo spot the next day, so we choose a drive through the mountains to search for other spots....during this tour we found our first orchids:
During the winter I was longing that much for butterflies that my partner & I booked a trip to Greece to photograph spring butterflies. From reports which I found on the internet I learned that early April is a perfect time to find some nice species in the mountain area around Alexandroupolis.
On the first day, discovering the hills and countryside around Alexandroupolis we noticed two little puppies running near the road. Later that day we saw them again just outside the village Avantas near some other poor and skinny dogs.
Like a heavy car accident just happened....it was impossible to ignore this kind of skinny dogs....they needed help. We drove to a supermarket and bought our first big bag of dog food. Every day we drove to two, three our four spots with very skinny dogs and feed them. Some dogs were very shy but a few were very happy when we daily arrived and they greeted us very happy.
On day 7 we found one of the little puppies dead....hit by a car and left dead on the street. I placed his dead body under a tree and with a lot of tears we said farewell to him.
This first blog is not about butterflies but dedicated to the street dogs of Greece who all deserves a better life! Adopt.....don't shop!!!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.