Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Swiss Alps

In the summer holiday my wife and I stayed in the Swiss Alps (Belalp, Oberwallis) for one week. Yes I know, far too short! We hired a small chalet at 1700m altitude. The open forest and the alpine grasslands are a paradise for butterflies. The first photo shows the view from the Belalp on a clear sunny morning with the Mischabel Gruppe (with the Dom 4545m as the highest peak) in the far background. Species that I liked to photograph were Alpine Heath (Coenonympha gardetta/Alpenhooibeestje) and Purple-edged Copper (Lycaena hippothoe/Rode Vuurvlinder). This is by far the most intense red I ever saw; it really looks like the upperwings shine (instead of reflect). Note that the high-altitude form is devoid of the purple reflections.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Beautiful Demoiselle

On our way to the Swiss Alps we stayed a few days in the Vosges, eastern France. In the deep forest of Darney, close to a small stream, I saw hunderds of Beautiful Demoiselles (Calopteryx virgo/Bosbeekjuffer). This is the largest and darkest Calopteryx, with almost entirely metallic cobalt wings in ♂♂.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Quatorze Juillet

The first day of my vacation. I got up very early and drove to the “Oostvaardersplassen”. It was an amazing day with 3 photos that I want to share. On the first picture taken in the morning you see a juvenile Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia/Lepelaar) sweeping through the water, searching for aquatic invertabrates with its sensitive bill. The afternoon supplied me with a nice shot of the colourful Kingfisher. And I ended this long day with a curious Little Owl juvenile (Athena noctua/Steenuil) in a backlit setting.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Darter time

Darters are rather small dragonflies (libellulids). They spend most of their time on a prominent perch, from which short sorties are undertaken to chase prey or rivals. this young male Black Darter (Sympetrum danae/Zwarte Heidelibel) is illuminated by the last sun-rays of this day.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Compensation nature

In recent years the lakes of the “Mosbulten” in Nuenen, The Netherlands, are restored as ‘compensation nature’ for the new A50 highway between Eindhoven and Nijmegen. This is how it looks today; just after a shower and with a glimpse of sun. The yellow teint comes from abundant flowering Marsh St. John's Wort (Hypericum elodes/Moerashertshooi).