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.
One week ago I capitulated photographing butterflies.....near the accomodation I found some 'regular' butterflies and tried to photograph them but they flew away at 5 o'clock before I could put down my tripod....it was just too warm.
Yesterday evening I noticed this spectacle in the distance from my cottage and it represents the mood I'm in since I received the message that a friend passed by suddenly. Thunder and lighting won't change what I'm feeling.......
I followed the same procedure as every year and visited the first morning after arrival in Bayern (Germany) ‘my’ Dusky Large Blue spot and again a part of their habitat was gone. I searched for more than hour but I could not find any butterfly.
This morning I visited the spots near the Dreisesselmountains but the spotes were empty....besides no butterflies it was striking that on the flowers of the thistles I did not see a single resting bumble-bee. I decided to return to the Dusky Large Blue spot and finally I found my first resting butterfly on Great Burnet, a False Dusky Large Blue aka Small Heath:
A characteristic of the Small Heath is that he is mostly resting in a kind of twisted position and a 100% sharp photo is hard to realize (without disturbing the butterfly).
A few minutes later a found an other butterfly on Great Burnet and fortunately it was not a false one!
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!
Yesterday evening I found a nice surprise in my garden while I was watering the plants. At first sight I thought that it was a Common Blue until he opened his wings and I saw a lot of brown with orange......a Brown Argus! I have never seen this species before in my garden or in the neighbourhood.
It's a good appetizer to start my holiday with as tomorrow I will travel to the Mercantour for a week together with some members of the Palinka club.
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!
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.
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'.
This morning I visited the cuckoo flower area again as I'm still dreaming of a certain photo....and no.....it's not the one below unfortunately. First because the flowers are almost finished and second the sun did not rise red on the horizon due to some buildings far away. By the time the sun was high enough to climb over the buildings the light was too hard.
But, I will not complain as I need something to desire for 2019 and there are enough other beauties to photograph right now.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.