Thursday, 6 August 2015

Butterfly paradise

The garden of our cottage in the Italian Alps hosted a Bonelli’s Warbler (Phylloscopus bonelli / Bergfluiter), some Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis / Putter) and a family of Black Redstarts (Phoenicurus ochruros / Zwarte Roodstaart). House Martins (Delichon urbicum / Huiszwaluw), Crag Martins (Ptyonoprogne rupestris / Rotszwaluw) and Alpine Swifts (Apus melba / Alpengierzwaluw) were patrolling the skies overhead. Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra / Kruisbek) as well as Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes / Notenkraker) were irregular visitors.

But above all it was a butterfly paradise. During our hikes we encountered Apollo (Parnassius apollo / Apollovlinder), Wood White (Leptidea sinapis / Boswitje), Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae / Morgenrood), Little Blue (Cupido minimus / Dwergblauwtje), Brown Argus (Aricia agestis / Bruin Blauwtje), Damon Blue (Polyommatus damon / Witstreepblauwtje), Chalk-hill Blue (Polyommatus coridon / Bleek Blauwtje), Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja / Grote Parelmoervlinder), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia / Kleine Parelmoervlinder), Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma / Tweekleurige Parelmoervlinder), Marbled White (Melanargia galathea / Dambordje), Marbled Ringlet (Erebia montana / Marmererebia), Dusky Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lycaon / Grauw Zandoogje), and Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus / Hooibeestje), substituted by Alpine Heath (Coenonympha gardetta / Alpenhooibeestje) at higher altitudes.

At just a 5 minute walk from our cottage I discovered a dry stony field that catches the last light of the day before the sun drops behind the Mont Blanc massif some 45km away. Here I found Spotted Fritillaries, Chalk-hill Blues and Damon Blues (imho one of the most elegant Lycaenidae) preparing for the night.

Greetings from Gran Paradiso, Italy!

* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-200, f5, 1/1000s; hand held.
* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f5, 1/160s; -0.7 stop; hand held.
* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/200s; hand held.
* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/200s; hand held.

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