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Friday, 14 July 2017

Butterflying in the Alpes-Maritimes - Col des Champs

Bastille Day and the last day of the tour. Spent searching on the Col for Mountain and Shepherd's Fritillaries and, after lunch, a fantastic walk down the hill. Valerian growing on both sides of the road and inhabited by countless butterflies. They say save the best until last - and we did.

Butterflying started before we left the hotel, the Silver-washed Fritillary forma valesina was performing well and attracting some attention.


 


Sat on a mountain top surrounded by fritillaries I thought it would be easy to capture both Shepherd's and Mountain Fritillaries. Not so, as subsequent analysis of my photos reveals that I probably only managed to get Mountains. The problem is that to be sure you need some underwing shots and these were few and far between. Collins Butterfly guide provides the helpful description that in Shepherd's the upf post discal markings are macular but in Mountain are linear - trouble is I have difficulty knowing where macularity ends and linearity begins.



 


 


 

Mountain Fritillary

Mountain Fritillary

Mountain Fritillary

Mountain Fritillary


Then a one and half mile roadside stretch of valerian that was coated in butterflies.





First up another Apollo.

 






I was so fixed on the Apollo that I failed to see the possible Marbled White forma procida


 
 
 
A nice looking Comma
 
 
 
 
A Great Banded Grayling
 
 
A Large Ringlet
 
 
 
 
But it was the coppers that stole the show.
 
 
Purple-edged Copper



Purple-edged Copper



Purple-edged Copper
 


Purple Shot Copper


Scarce Copper

Scarce Copper

Scarce Copper

Scarce Copper
Scarce Copper

Scarce Copper

Sooty Copper

Sooty Copper

Purple Shot Copper
  


Finally a female Silver-washed Fritillary on steroids that for a few seconds may have been a Cardinal, sadly not.
 
 


A fresh male SwF

 
 
 
Then it was all over, six cracking days of alpine butterflying. 123 species seen by the group, 119 personally and a tally of 48 life ticks.
 

Bouquets

 
David Moore and Ed Hutchings deserve a heap of praise, excellent leadership, thorough knowledge and very informative. Most of all good company and both with a sense of humour - thanks guys.
 
Great organisation from Greenwings - would I recommend it - you bet!
 

Brickbats

 
None -
 
 
 

 

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