With these temperatures, 28 degrees on 13 October, it was not really a surprise that the first Swallowtails emerged. Although I did my very best to keep them as cool as I can, two of them were born yesterday....it is just too warm....again we have a 'canicule' (one of the first new words I learned in french lesson last week).
This morning I tried to catch them in my garden with the rising sun but it was'n easy with a new big factory farm in the background. I guess, it's time to leave to France!
As a few caterpillars of the Swallowtail were not pupated yet (see my former blog) I was desperately looking for a carrot field last Monday; I was driving around hoping to find one. Finally I found one and took some green leaves and.....I found 16 caterpillars of the Swallowtail. On Wednesday I returned and collected 25 caterpillars (from the edges of the field).
Yesterday I drove again to this field but, as expected, it was gathered and the farmer was working on it far away. While I was searching for some resting green carrot leaves I heard the noice af the tractor coming closer and closer.
The majority of the 46 caterpillars will pupate within a few days. Together with the other chrysalises I need to reorganize my hibernation box as for the first time it is completely full. For the other caterpillars I ordered a new one....who knows what I will find the next days.
Due to this fabulous summer, I found some caterpillars of the Swallowtail. First in July on a carrot field which was gathered the day after and second in August on fennel. I received some fresh fennel to feed them and when they were all almost grown and pupated I discovered a tiny little caterpillar which was just born....so the complete story continued. Last Monday evening I run out of food for the last caterpillar as my fennel is empty. I drove to a carrot field and found immediately a tiny little caterpillar. Although it was getting dark I searched on a place with high weed between the carrots (a sign that this piece of land was not treated with poison) and found 11 caterpillars:
As these caterpillars are very hungry and as I wanted to search for more caterpillars I drove to the carrot field this morning. Big machines were busy and the wilder part with weed was already completely gone.
How many swallowtails we would have in the Netherlands when some of the carrot field would not be gathered?
Eight month ago I found two little 'dumped' kittens in the forest. Not knowing what to do with them I took them home as leaving them behind in the forest was not an option for me. Once at home they turned out to be very sweet and socialized that I decided to keep them. They were named Hugo & Boss. Boss was smaller than Hugo and from the vet I learned that they had different ages.
Although they were probably not from the same nest they were very close and attached to each other. Boss was too tame to strangers and not afraid of cars.....in the passed months I was often worried about him. Yesterday evening disaster struck.....Boss was hit by a vehicle and my sons found him dead this afternoon.
For the first time in weeks, my alarm clock went off early this morning and together with Frank & Gerard I had the mission to find some Small Coppers and other butterflies in an area which we visited more often.
To make a long story short.....we only found ONE Common Blue and ONE Small Heath. Sometimes, like today, ONE is enough to make my day!
The trip ended in tradition on a sunny terrace with delicious coffee & apple pie. I could get used to this!
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!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.