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!
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!
In the meantime the sun has already risen and in the distance the light was visible at the end of the forest. The closer we came the more noises of waterfowls we heard.
Unfortunately, I spent too much time with the mushroom as the light on the lake was just a little bit too hard....the scenery was lovely due to the fog. The first group of Canada Goose flew away and after ten minutes it was completely quiet on the water.....time to search for other motives.
On our way back we passed three birches with Red Admirals on the trunks; they were drinking birch sap but get chased way by some hornets. We finished this perfect trip with a tradional cup of coffee at the terrace and some new plans for trips in 2017 and 2018!
Since my return from the Cevennes I have noticed some butterflies but within minutes they needed to hide for the next rain shower. It's increadible how much rain is coming down and down again and how many acres are flooded. The farmers and/or the water company started cleaning the ditches which means a lot of nature/plant destruction. It's sad because due to this intensive procedure most of the wild flowers are gone and with them the butterflies!
These are the days that I'm longing to return to France, to the laissez faire country with meadows full of butterflies, good cheese and some old French cars!
After Yellow is it the turn to White. The poet's narcissus is growing in the wild on the higher meadows of the Cevennes. A part of them was already be out of flower but when we visited the Mont Lozere I found a kind of moor area with a lot of pink orchids and a lot of flowering white daffodils. As my clothes already were soaked by the dew, I did not doubt to lie down in the wet area for a lower position. The early sunlight came over the mountain and lightened up a part of the background for some seconds.
There was one butterfly species which we found everywhere....the Black-veined White. The first days we found single butterflies but after days with higher temperatures we found them resting in groups and/or mating. Near a road I found two butterflies which were heavy in love but taking a sharp close-up of their wings was'nt easy due to a lot of passing cars and trucks.....they (the wind they caused) ruined my composition and depth of focus.
Both Whites were freshly emerged and the difference in colour and size between male (white and smaller) and female (yellowish and larger) is visible.
Recently I returned from a nice and warm week in the Cevennes. Together with Hans, Marielle, Mees, Debbie, Jacco, Frank and Gerard (the Palinka club) I searched for 'special' butterflies. The first morning after arrival we visited some beautiful flower meadows but it was cold and very windy. Almost immediately we found a resting Queen of Spain Fritallary so I had good hope to find more and particularly not common fritallaries that week.
But also in the Cevennes the amount of butterflies was lower than normal due to a cold spring. During our stay the temperatures were rising day by day and the number of butterflies were growing every day. But, the two species which I hoped to see/photograph I did not find.
This morning Landgoed de Utrecht was the meeting point for the members of the 'Palinka' club to photograph wood anemones and to enjoy the first sunlight. It was the first time since my backache five weeks ago that I tried the favorite low macro position again.
Later, while enjoying a cappuccino with a piece apple pie, we discussed the finishing touch of our trip to France in June. After some members have left, we returned to the wood anemones and we were just in time to 'catch' a female Brimstone. It's my first butterfly picture of 2016! Probably the next picture will follow soon as in the afternoon I noticed the first Holly Blue and I received the message from a friend that some Orangetips has been seen today.
Last Saturday it was the first time for me that I visited the nature area 'The Elzen' near Dordrecht and it was very nice to meet everybody from the 'Palinka' club again and to make new plans for a trip to France next year.
Unfortunately any colour in the sky was missing that morning. No signs of butterflies at all but instead plenty of snails.
Gerard showed me a snail with a special coloured feeler. In fact it is a parasite worm (Leucochloridium paradoxum) who is using the snail as temporary host; the definitive host for this parasite are birds. With this coloured rings in the feeler this parasite try to draw the attention of birds....it's amazing to witness this colour spectacle and it's cruel at the same time.
For an other occasion I was in Dordrecht again this week and I was impressed by the large number of herons.....fortunately they do not eat infected snails!
As I’m not a fan of black backgrounds, I did not look to 4 or 5 photo’s on my harddisk which I had made in Hungary last week. More than that, a few days ago I wanted to delete them when I opened the last one for a check and noticed an uncommon background.
I’m not sure what happened but due to the fact that the temperatures were high these days I assume that the butterfly shaked his head and caused these shining/moving drops.
Long time ago, I heard about Farm Lator, the ‘hot spot’ for butterflies in Hungary which is located at the foot of the Bükk Mountains. Last year I received an invitation to join a group of passionate nature photographers and for a week and recently I travelled to Hungary by car. Together with Marielle, Hans, Ed, Mees, Debbie, Jacco, Frank and Gerard, I enjoyed a wonderful week with a lot of fun and beautiful nature encounters.
The first morning I had the mission Clouded Apollo and within a minute Jacco found an old and damaged specimen. In the absence of a ‘better’ apollo I photographed this oldie which represents the charme of faded glory.
Some later Ed and Hans entered the meadow and two more apollo’s were climbing up to warm up. A few days later I entered the same meadow again but the Clouded Apollo’s were gone.
During my stay I counted 53 butterfly species and as the temperatures were rising, day by day more butterflies emerged. On the first day Gerard showed me a yellow chrysalis which probably was a brenthis species but we did not exactly know which one. On Friday the 13th Marielle witnessed the ‘birth’ of the butterfly and we found out that it was the Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis daphne).
An other big surprise was the discovery of a Large Copper which I found in the evening with a lot of wind. I decided to skip an other trip the next morning and returned together with Marielle to the area with the Large Copper. Just that morning it was cloudy and due to one big and dark cloud we had to wait extra long before the sun came out to show the brilliant coppery colour.
Next to all the beautiful butterflies we also found some Stag Beetles, snakes, lizards, a dormouse and on the last day as dessert the Rosalia longicorn.
More photos can be found in the Gallery A -> Z under Hungary.
Unfortunately the week went by too quick and I’m looking forward to our next trip together!
First, I would like to thank everybody for the fun and nice conversations we had together and especially I would like to thank Gerard and Frank for their efforts to make this possible!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.