Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Beautiful Demoiselle & Red-underwing Skipper

Together with Silvia Reiche, famous for her fine and detailed insect live photography, I visited the Eifel. This sparsely populated hilly area in Germany is normally a paradise for butterflies at this time of the year. However, today the numbers of butterflies were very very low (despite good weather, i.e. sunny spells and not too much wind after a cold morning). Nevertheless, we found several special species. The hilltop calcareous grassland list: Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages / Bruin Dikkopje), Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius / Kalkgraslanddikkopje), Purple-edged Copper (Lycaena hippothoe / Rode Vuurvlinder), Small Blue (Cupido minimus / Dwergblauwtje), and Woodland Ringlet (Erebia medusa / Voorjaarerebia). In the late afternoon we drove to a valley with to search for Bog Fritillary (Boloria eunomia / Ringoogparelmoervlinder). And luckily we found one, but again it was the only flying butterfly in a marshy meadow full of Common Bistort (Persicaria bistorta / Adderwortel)! I suspect that the many caterpillars did not survive the drought of spring 2011.
But the good news of today is that for the first time since I was 4 years old I was able to walk an entire day in a field full of grasses heavy with spikelets without sneezing, watery red eyes and a runny nose. I still can’t believe it, is my hayfever finally on the return?
On the photos you see Red-underwing Skipper on Black Rampion (Phyteuma nigrum / Zwartblauwe Rapunzel) and the star of the day, a ♂ Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo / Bosbeekjuffer). The latter name sounds like contradictio in terminis but it is not in this context.

* Canon EOS 7D with 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/250s; hand held
* Canon EOS 7D with 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f6.3, 1/125s; hand held.

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