Butterfly bonanza

I’ve never been all that good at butterfly spotting.  Back in the UK, I could manage my red admirals, peacock butterflies and cabbage whites.  Oh yes, I could certainly identify those pesky cabbage whites.  Their eggs were usually plastered over the undersides of nearly every vegetable I had on my allotment.

On Sunday though, we had a real butterfly bonanza.  We had a perfect day’s walking on the nearby Plateau de Sault, near Belcaire.  It was perfect because the scenery was friendly: gently rising and falling lightly forested slopes offered distant panoramas of the Pyrenees.  The wonderful weather was bright and sunny, without being too hot. The walk offered challenges but no real difficulty; good companionship too.  What made this Sunday memorable though were the butterflies.  At this altitude – about 1000 metres – the summer flowers were still bright and fresh, and the butterflies couldn’t leave them alone.  They fluttered ahead of us every step of the way, and we finally gave up exclaiming over their delicate beauty.

What we couldn’t do was identify them.  This evening I’ve pored over sites on the internet.  I’ve excitedly identified a specimen.  Then I’ve looked at the next image… and the next… and realised that my confident identification isn’t at all secure.  Tentatively, then, I’ve named my photos.  But I rely on you, dear reader, to put me right about the undoubted mistakes I’ve made.

In the end though, whether I’ve been able to name them or not, I carry with me the memory of a summer’s day made extra special by the presence of those butterflies  wheeling, turning, diving and fluttering, rarely still, but constantly engaging our admiration and attention

14 thoughts on “Butterfly bonanza”

  1. Well, if you really want to know:
    The first 2 are Silver washed fritillaries. Check out the lines on the upper part of the wings – High Browns’ wings are more spotty. Oh, and to get a clear ID on most frits – actually, on most butterflies – you need to photograph the underside of the wings!
    Photos 3, 5 and 6 are Marbled Whites.
    Photo 4: difficult to tell, but looks rather more like a Black Veined White to me.
    Blues are the most difficult, not least because they won’t keep still! But I’d say you’re probably right about the Chalk Hill in photos 8 to 10 – again, you need to try and photograph the underside to be sure because that’s what will separate one from t’other.
    Six spot burnet: spot on 🙂
    But I’m stuck on those strange looking creatures in the bottom left photo though 😉

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    1. Thanks so much for that, Kalba. In fact I do have photos of the undersides in most cases. I just didn’t post them. So with that in mind I’ll go back and reconsider. But those pesky blues don’t believe in having a still calm moment, do they?

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  2. C’est l’ hivers qu’ apparaissent les plus beaux et nombreux papillons envahissant et alourdissant notre ciel dans un ballet tourbillonnant ! … Toutefois, la variété n’ est pas l’ atout premier de ce magnifique spectacle où seul le blanc domine … ces éphémères une fois au sol soit ils fondent, ou bien alors, sur sol froid, ils se transforment en un manteau blanc qui se dissoudra dès les premiers redoux printaniers.

    Merci à Margaret pour ses toujours promenades instructives et dépaysantes à travers cette Ariège si sauvage et si riche en biodiversité.

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  3. thanks Margaret, you lived an other wonderful day I see –
    having all the time probles with internet connections, I seriousely think to give up all that stuff and just remain with a phone connection – writing letters, sending postcards, ringing…the old fashioned way – it seems to me “freedom” as well…..sad enough I wouldn’t be able any more to get your messages………..one important point I’d miss – until soon, AnnAxxx

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  4. …yeah well,re- writing letters, using the landline…….takes me all tooooooo much time, dont’ want to be addict – waiting for further informations, then shall decide…….xxx

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  5. Now you’re just showing off with your butterfly photographs! but they are gorgeous. As is that view. I have to say although it was alate start we’ve noticed a lot more butterflies this summer though they’ve stayed out of lens range 🙂

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    1. I’m so glad you’ve commented, because I need to tell you that I can’t comment on your blog, or any other Blogger blog. It’s always been difficult, but now it won’t let me do anything 😦 . Thanks for enjoying the photos. I have a whole series that I took the other day of a butterfly – sometimes two – which stayed on my wrist for over half an hour. Magic.

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