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!
Col du papillons
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!
The good life
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.
Friday the 13th
As my new camera is still unused, I searched between the 2018 files and memories came back when I saw this image of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary which was taken on my birthday in the Mercantour last year.
On a small meadow in the Mercantour we (Mees, Gerard, Frank and I) found some common fritillaries and other butterflies. We searched very well but did not find any rare species. Surprisingly, one after the other big and rare fritillary came out of the grass and flew away after the sun touched the meadow. The only butterfly which was very cooperative after he was awake, was this Pearl-bordered Fritillary which was confused by the shadow we created.....for minutes he posed for us!
I can't wait to visit this meadow again and to search for the big fritillaries between the grass!
Merry Christmas and a healthy 2019!
As my Christmas Holiday started yesterday, it's time to slow down a little bit, listening to Ludovico Einaudi's masterpiece 'Divenire' and to be thankful for a great 2018!
This is not a usual photo but for me it represents mosts of the things I need in life: freedom, happiness, nature, peace, love and......a good cup of coffee!!!
I wish you all Merry Christmas and the very best for 2019!
Merry Christmas - Prettige kerstdagen - Frohe Weihnachten - Joyeux Noël!!
For some time I was wondering if I could change the camera brand. Since 1991 I'm very loyal to Canon but the last years felt like Canon had 'missed the boat'.
A few days ago I decided to give up my loyalty and bought a new camera from Sony....the 7RM2. From today my Canon 7DMKII will retire after > 100000 shutter counts as back-up camera.
As I was overwhelmed by the Mercantourtrip last summer, I decided to return in 2019 and of course I will visit the Mountain Fritillary spot near the Col d'Allos again together with my new workhorse and I hope some friends!
After two months with a lot of trips this is the first weekend that I'm home without engagements and that I have time to look back to the trips, selecting and enjoying photos. On July 5th the trip to the Mercantour started and together with Hans, Gerard and Frank (Palinka Club) I left for a short stay/starter in the Bugey.
After 820 km we reached our accommodation in the afternoon, it was time for a cold starter under a big tree and to relax after the drive. Fortunately the dinner was served in accordance with French traditions so we had time to discover the area and search for butterflies. On a wild flower meadow we noticed some big orange butterflies and waited near the meadow until they went to rest. The next morning we returned (too early as it was almost dark at arrival) and after a long and heavy rainshower we found back some of the butterflies. A nice starter for this trip was the Niobe Fritillary which I never photographed before.
Next to the Niobe Fritillary we found in the same meadow three resting Dark Green Fritillaries. Although we only had one day in this beautiful region, we counted 34 butterfly species.
The phengaris family
An other highlight from the Mercantour/Haute-Alpes trip was the rebellious family member of the Alcon Blue, which looks very simillar but who prefers an other larval foodplant, the cross-leaved gentian (gentiana cruciata), it was nice to 'meet' the Mountain Alcon Blue!
The day before we explored the area and we found a lot of active butterflies; Frank discovered a couple of this species who were busy with the 2019 generation.
It was a pleasure to see that this species was doing well and that a lot of them were flying around. In a few days I hope to meet a family member of this species during my holiday in Germany.
Last Saturday I returned from a nice and relaxed week in the Mercantour. Together with Hans, Gerard, Mees, Debbie, Jacco and Frank (the Palinka club) I searched for butterflies which can't be found in the Netherlands. Two years ago we visited the Cevennes with the mission to find the Scarce Copper....unfortunately we did not so I pinned my hope to find this species in the Mercantour. At arrival I noticed an Orange-tip which was the sign that a lot of species were not emerged yet.
Again I did not find the wanted Scarce Copper but instead a lot of other very beautiful species like this Southern Swallowtail (Papilio alexanor). This picture costs me a lot of sweat....not to take the picture but to reach the butterfly as he was resting at an much higher place on the mountain.
It was the first time that I visited the Mercantour and I was impressed by its beauty: rough mountains, lovely villages and a tremendous variety of nature. The Col d'Allos was amazing and one day I will return to the Mercantour and the Col d'Allos!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.