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|EXCURSION NOTES 2016 (including many photos)|
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Excursion Notes 2016
20th January: An abnormal winter so far. No snow at all on the local mountains and very little rainfall. After a very mild autumn and December, the temperature went right down for the first three weeks of this month (average -1°C during the day and -6° to -7°C at night) , so, as to be expected, no butterflies on the wing. The last 10 days of the month have been much milder, especially in the miiddle of the day, but unfortunately I haven't been able to get out much.March
31st January: In between the local village carnival preparations in the morning and playing with the local band in the early afternoon, I managed to go for an hour's walk on the hill behind our village. Fairly warm hazy sunshine took the temperature up to about 10°C and brought out a couple of butterflies - my first sightings of the year: a Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), spotted first, and sunning itself just a few feet away, a Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae). Sorry no photos.
19th February: During the last week or so a fair amount of snow has fallen (at last) on the tops of the nearby mounatins, with some welcome rain falling here in the valley. The last couple of afternoons have been warm and sunny, so I took advantage of being free for a couple of hours to go for a walk on my local hill. I was pleased to see 4 or 5 Large Tortoiseshells (Nymphalis antiopa) out sunning themselves (photo)(photo) on a stony track between vineyards. This is a view across the valley from a nearby field (photo). Unfortunately, shortly after, it got cloudy and coolish, but the warmth on the ground was enough to keep this rather worn Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta) out. As soon as it saw me, it closed its wings and showed no intention of opening them (photo).
1st March: After a weekend of rain in the valley and snow on the mountains above 1000m, a warm, sunny, but breezy day. Cycling home from work at lunchtime, the first butterfly I spotted was a Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), one of about six I saw over the next 2 hours. Also on the wing not far from where I live were 3 or 4 commas (Polygonia c-album) (photo), a single peacock (Inachis io), a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), a couple of Small Tortoiseshells (Aglais urticae), 4 or 5 Walls (Lasiommata megera) , dozens of Large Tortoiseshells (Nymphalis polychloros) (at least one flying up from the ground or swooping down at me every 30 metres of my walk) and 3 Nettle-Tree butterflies (Libythea Celtis) (poor photo, photo). Here is a view of the path and in the background, a few kilometres away, the snow-covered mountain near Folgaria (photo).
19th March: The weather was cold for most of the first two weeks of March with several more snowfalls down to about 900m,, but the last few days have produced warm spring afternoons. I got out for a short walk on both sides of the valley today, starting at abot 11am and getting home at about 3pm. Here are the views from the two sides (photo looking southwards towards Pomarolo and Rovereto, photo looking westwards with Castel Beseno on the left and Monte Bondone to the right). My sighting for the day consisted of numerous Large Tortoiseshells (Nymphalis polychloros) and Brimstones (Gonepteryx rhamni), several Small Tortoisehells (Aglais urticae), Commas (Polygonia c-album), Nettle-tree butterflies (Libythea celtis) and Green-veined Whites (Artogeia napi), one Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)and one Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea)(photo), the first of the season.
26-31st March: We are in Spain about 50 km north of Alicante for 5 days. The weather is predictably much warmer than in north Italy with clear blue skies and temperatures ranging from 12°C to 25°C. Unfortunately, most days there is a fairly strong breeze.
26th: My initial expectations of seeing far more butterflies than in Trentino as we stopped at various likely-looking spots while travelling up the coast were somewhat dampened with sightings of only 5 butterflies - 3 Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), 1 Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) and 1 Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria). However, the following day (27th), after finding several Geranium Bronzes (Cacyreus marshalli) in the garden, I got out for a run at about 16.30 and followed the Rio Algar inland for 2-3 kilometres. Nothing for the first kilometer, but as I crossed some waste land on the edge of the orange groves, a few more species revealed themselves: several Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), 1 Bath White (Pontia daplidice), 2 Clouded Yellows (Colias crocea), 3 or 4 Speckled Woods (Pararge aegeria), 1 Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), 1 Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), 2 Long-tailed Blues (Lampides boeticus)(although not the first time I have seen them, these are my first presentable photos - photo, photo). My last sighting was, what I believe is, a Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops)(photo, photo) - a completely new species for me. Here is a photo of the location (photo).
28th: When planning our stay in Spain, I had seen a local coastal hill/mountain on the map and thought it worth spending a few hours exploring. On setting off, it appeared that the so-called Serra Gelada was very well-known, because there were hundreds of other tourists with the same idea. Easter Monday means everyone must go for a walk! The easy path to the lighthouse (photo, photo), where most people were heading, brought no sightings of any butterflies at all and the harder path up to the 480m high peak was equally disappointing until the very summit (photo), which most of the local butterflies seemed to have made their home. As well as numerous Wall Browns (Lasiommata megera) and Long-tailed Blues (Lampides boeticus) darting about, the latter rarely settling (it was a very warm day), there were 3 or 4 male Swallowtails (Papilio machaon) trying to establish their bit of territory (photo), constantly zooming backwards and forwards. I was just thinking that it was the perfect location for Two-tailed Pashas (Charaxes jasius) had it been a couple of months later in the year, when, much to my surprise, one appeared and settled on a bush nearby (photo, photo, photo). A little later another arrived and sparked off another territorial battle. A solitary Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius) also flew into the area a few minutes after, but although walking another 6-8 km to get down to where I had started, I didn't see any more butterflies on any other part of the mountain.
29th: Another really warm, but windy day, and a trip inland for about 20 km (photo). As well as seeing a few Cleopatras about (Gonepteryx cleopatra), I was very pleased to spot one of the butterflies that I was really looking for - a Moroccan Orange Tip (Anthocaris belia). In fact, during the day I saw 3 or 4 but, unfortunately, they didn't stop for any photo shoots. A great pity because they are really beautiful butterflies! This was the terrain I was on - disused, overgrown steeply-terraced olive groves with thorn bushes and loose earth and stones everywhere (photo), making any butterfly chasing impossible. Later, in another site I managed a quick mid-flight photo as another specimen flew past just to record my close encounter (photo).
30th: A very hot final day here in Spain with much less wind than the previous 4 days, but unfortunately I had very little free time to get out to hunt butterflies. I only found Blues and the only decent photos I got were of this Lang's Short-tailed Blue (photo)(photo).
April1st: Back in Italy and after work in the morning, I found some time to walk up my local hill. The 3 new species about were a single Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines), several Grizzled Skippers (Pyrgus malvae) and some Green Hairstreaks (Callophrys rubi).
10th: We've had a couple of days of colder weather with cloud and rain, but today the sun was out and so were lots of butterflies. The most common were Orange Tips (photo), Small Whites and Wood Whites (photo) with the occasional Brimstone, Red Admiral, Large Tortoiseshell, Comma and Green Hairstreak. First sightings of the year of a Dingy Skipper (photo), a Chequered Blue (photo), a Small Copper and some Pearl Bordered Fritillaries (who just would not sit still long enough for any photos). Our main purpose of walking along a path (photo) near this stream (photo) (photo) was to see if there were any Camberwell Beauties around, but we drew a blank on that one.Still too early, maybe. I don't think I've ever seen quite so many Tau Emperors about as I did today, though: 4 or 5 crossing paths at one moment, but, as usual, never stopping to rest during their apparently haphazard flight!
29th: After a week of very cold weather with snow on the nearby mountains - a sunny and comparatively warm day. Not surprisingly there were a fair number of butterflies on the wing on my local hill (photo). As well as the ones listed earlier this month, new sightings for the year included numerous Adonis Blues (photo male) (photo female) and Common Blues, one or two Sooty Coppers, a few Glanville Fritillaries (photo) and lots of Berger's Clouded Yellows. Here is a photo of a mating couple.
May7th: I have done 3 excursions over the last 9 days to specific areas, with the aim of finding certain species reportedly found there. Unfortunately, only one was successful. The first trip was to Veneto, where I was looking for the Southern Festoon. I didn't have much time available and my hour-long walk was not fruitful. (I had a good day though!) Here is a photo from the foothills of Monte Grappa. My second, a local walk this time, didn't give me any opportunities for photos, but did bring about a sighting of a fast-flying Camberwell Beauty. The third one was up a local mountain in search of the De Prunner's Ringlet, seen in May last year but a couple of weeks later. As the butterflies I saw last year were already worn and old-looking, I thought I might find some earlier this year. I was obviously too early. There was very little around above 1,000m. Here is the view from about 1,800m asl: (photo, photo) The most common butterflies spotted during this first part of May have been Brimstones, Orange Tips, Wood Whites, Chequered Blues, Small Blues, Green Hairsteaks, Common Blues, Adonis Blues, Dingy Skippers, Speckled Woods.
8th: A couple of new species for the year seen near this stream not far from Rovereto (photo): this Red Underwing Skipper (photo, photo) and what I think is a Reverdin's Blue (or Idas Blue) (photo, photo) Can anyone help?
14th: A cool, rainy week with the weather forecast for this coming weekend being just as bad. The few hours of sun in the morning did, however, allow me to go for a local walk. I was hoping to see some Green-Underside Blues and some Duke of Burgundy Fritillaries, but the only new species for the year was a Spotted Fritillary of which I saw 3 or 4 (photo).The other very interesting find was this magnificent Cream-spot Tiger moth (photo, photo).
21st: A trip up on Monte Baldo, walking from 1,350m asl up to 1,760m asl, to see if there were any De Prunner's Ringlets (Erebia triaria) flying here. Nothing of any interest at this height yet though, especially after some recent snow, but some great views. (photo, photo, photo, photo)
22nd; On my local hill. Plenty of Glanville Fritillaries (Melitea cinxia), Chequered Blues (Scolitantides orion) and, what I had come to look for, the first Green-underside Blues (Glaucopsyche alexis) of the season (photo, photo, photo)
27th: After two mountain walks earlier this month to try to find some De Prunner's Ringlets (Erebia triaria), at last success! Unfortunately, as I had to work in the morning I only got out when it was already very hot and although there were numerous De Prunner's flying on the mountainside, they never stopped for any photo opportunities. Having resorted to my net and twice managing to capture a butterfly only to see it escape before I could even look at it (not just poor net technique, but difficult terrain to hunt on!), I finally got a got a look at a fresher-looking butterfly with redder markings than those photographed last year. Unsuccessful photos, though! All I got was this (photo) and this (photo). Here is a view of the ridge of the mountain (photo) about 200m above where the butterflies were flying (the butterflies were down the steep slope on the right of the ridge, but none on top.) All the E. triaria I saw were between 1,250m and 1,450m asl.
28th: Another walk on a mountain, but this time ar around 1000m asl. The most common butterflies here were Woodland Ringlets (E. medusa) (photo) and Geranium Arguses (Aricia eumodon) (photo of underside and photo of upperside), but there were also lots of Common (Polyommatus icarus), Adonis (Polyommatus bellargus) and Little Blues (Cupido minimus), Green Hairstreaks (Callophrys rubi), Brimstones (Gonepteryx rhamni), Orange tips (Anthocharis cardomines), Wood whites (Leptidea sinapis) Glanville Fritillaries (Meltitea cinxia), Pearl Bordered Fritillaries (Boloria euphrosyne), Small Heaths (Coenonympha pamphilus), and Duke of Burgundy Fritillaries (Hamearis lucina) (photo). On the way down I also saw this Northern Wall Brown (Lasiommata petropolitana) (photo) and some Black-veined Whites (Aporia crataegi).
2nd: A 4-day trip to Zagreb in Croatia gave me the opportunity to go for a couple of walks along the River Sava. Although I didn't see as many butterflies around as I expected, there were a couple of interesting ones: first of all, this Map butterfly (Araschnia levana) (photo). I did think I would at last get a picture of the orange first brood form, but when it opened its wings, it revealed the dark-brown and white form (photo). I also saw two freshly-emerged Large Coppers (Lycaena dispar), one along the river and the second in a patch of grass on a hill (photo, photo).
11th: Cool, damp cloudy weather! Just before it started to rain I drove up to the meadows in Servis and was rewarded by finding what I was looking for - Twin-spot Fritillaries (Brenthis hecate). I came across only two of them: the first, I believe a female, with a purpley sheen on the upperside (photo, photo) and the second, I think a male (photo). The only other new butterfly for the year was this Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola) (photo). The most common butterfly on the wing was the Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina).
12th: Visit to some grassy meadows at 1,300m asl. Very cloudy and damp to start with but luckily it warmed up and became brighter. Here is a photo of the area, taken at about 3pm. Butterflies spotted between 11am and 3pm: Woodland Ringlets (Erebia medusa) - hundreds of them everywhere, even early in the cool air, Small Heaths (Coenonympha pamphilus), Mazarine Blues (Polyommatus semiargus) (photo, photo), Common Blues (Polyommatus icarus), Small Blues (Cupido minimus), Adonis Blues (Polyommatus bellargus), Sooty Coppers (Lycaena tityrus), (photo, photo) - lots, Duke of Burgundy Fritillary (Hamearis lucina), Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Clouded Apollos (Parnassius mnemosyne) (photo, photo-female showing the sphragis) - about a dozen.
14th: Went up to the place where for the past two years I have seen Poplar Admirals flying, hoping for a break in the bad weather, at least some sunshine for an hour or so. Not lucky! It was cool, cloudy and, in fact, started to rain after a short time with no sign of any change, and consequently no sign of any Limenitis Populi. While there, I paid my annual visit to a meadow where there is a colony of Chequered Skippers (Carterocephalos palaemon). Amazing how localised they seem to be every year! I have never seen one anywhere in the vicinity except in this one small field, where I spotted a dozen or so. (Photo)
18th: A day-trip to the Valdastico in Veneto to explore various sites and hopefully find some species that do not fly in Trentino where I live. Although it wasn't particularly warm in the morning, there was some sunshine, which brought out a few new species for the year: some Marbled Whites (Melanargia galathea) (photo), a Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis daphne) (photo), a Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus), a Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera)(photo), numerous Woodland Browns (Lopinge achine)(photo), some Large Skippers (Ochlodes venatus)(photo) and - a new species for me - one solitary False Heath Fritillary (Melitaea diamina) (photo). Frustratingly, the sky soon clouded over and it started to rain with only a few breaks when the sun reappeared for a minute or so, effectively dashing any hopes I had of finding any more species. Other species spotted during the day included Chequered Skippers (Carterocephalos palaemon), Spotted Fritillaries (Melitaea didyma) (photo), Heath Fritillaries (Mellicta athalia), Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta), Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui), (Speckled Woods) (Pararge aegeria), Black-veined Whites (Aporia crataegi), Wood Whites (Leptidea sinapis), Brimstones (Gonepteryx rhamni), Small Coppers (Lycaena phlaeas), Common Blues (Polyommatus icarus), Adonis Blues (Lysandra bellargus), Small Blues (Cupido minimus) and lots and lots of Essex (or possibly Small) Skippers (Thymelicus lineola / sylvestris), Meadow Browns (Maniola jurtina)(photo) Pearly Heaths (Coenonympha arcania)(photo) and Small Heaths (Coenonympha pamphilus). Travelling home just coming out of the heavy rain, nature gave me the pleasure of this lovely rainbow (photo).
21st and 25th: two other attempts to find Poplar Admirals, both of which proved unsuccesful.
27th-30th June: A 3-day trip to the Val di Rabbi, where, this time last year, I spotted 13 new species for the year. Not quite so successful this year, as everything seems to be much later due to the prolonged cool, wet weather in June. No Scarce Coppers yet, nor Apollos, nor Titania's Fritillaries nor Alpine Graylings (maybe we didn't get up high enough), but I did see Large Blues, Purple-Edged Coppers (photo), Alpine Heaths, Lesser Mountain Ringlets (photo), scores of Thor's Fritillaries (photo), Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (photo) and Woodland Ringlets, a couple of Common Brassy Ringlets and one single Alpine Blue (photo) (on the last day). Here are some views from one of the walks (photo, photo, photo).
July3rd-20th July; Holiday in Croatia (now unfortunately finished!). The first part was spent on the island of Brac - a rocky, hot, dry island with small areas of pine woods and lots of low prickly scrub. I spotted the usual butterflies flying at this time of the year there: lots of Woodland / Eastern Rock Graylings (photo)(I can't tell the difference), Southern White Admirals (photo), Southern Commas (photo), Cardinals (photo), Mallow Skippers, Southern Gatekeepers, a couple of Great Sooty Satyrs and - new for this year- Long-tailed Blues (photo). No Hermits this time, though.
Later in the holiday on the way back to north Italy, we stopped just south of Karlovac, an area through which four rivers flow (photo of River Dobra), in the hope of seeing some Lesser Purple Emperors. No luck with them, but I did come across some other interesting butterflies. First of all, I saw a rather worn Hungarian Glider, my first ever sighting of this butterfly. Unfortunately, it never stopped gliding along the path near the river and after a 1.5km chase, the only photo I got was one of its underside inside my net. (photo). Then, to my surprise, a beautiful, newly-emerged Brown Hairstreak appeared on a flower near me offering a wonderful photo opportunity. Alas, just as I pressed the shutter button the butterfly twisted to the back of the flower and I only got a blurred photo. One second later, it flew off into the trees. Very disappointing, especially as this butterfly does not seem to fly in my area and this was my first experience of it! However, having moved on to another campsite just over the border in Slovenia, after a long, hot search, I did spot one other Brown Hairstreak flying towards a shrub, giving me a few seconds to get some decent photos (one photo here). The other butterflies that turned out to be particularly common in the area were Large Chequered Skippers (photo) and Ringlets (photo) and there were a couple of fresk-looking Common Gliders on the wing, too.
24th July: Back in Trentino. A strenous walk up Monte Stivo (2058m asl)(photo, photo showing Lake Garda) didn't lead to as many higher-altitude butterfly sightings as expected. There were numerous Almond-eyed Ringlets (photo), Alpine Heaths (and Pearly Heaths), but only a few Common Brassy Ringlets (photo) and not much else.
27th-28th July: Despite the far-from-ideal weather forecast, I decided to go back to the Val di Rabbi for some serious higher-altitude butterfly hunting. A very interesting 2 days! I started walking at about 8.20, following the main route along the Rabbies stream. It was still very damp and overcast, but there were many butterflies (the majority of them Scarce Coppers (Lycaena virgaureae) and Lesser Mountain Ringlets (Erebia melampus)) emerging from their resting places and sitting, wings open, trying to absorb some of the morning warmth. Here is a photo of a Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja) and one of a Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe) with a view (photo) of the terrain. Gradually the weather improved and with the first rays of sun breaking through the clouds (photo), several more species appeared. I first thought this was an Apollo butterfly (photo) but the forwing red spot and the clearly black-and-white striped antenna suggest it is a Small Apollo (Parnassius phoebus). Here is a shot on full zoom of another (photo). At this point I had reached about 2,100m and there were many butterflies flying. Here is an Arran Brown (Erebia ligea)(photo), a Moorland Clouded Yellow (Colias palaeno)(photo) and, new to me, but instantly recognizeable, a Cranberry Blue (Plebejus optilete) (photo). The next butterflies to catch my attention were not so easily to identify, but I believe this is a Swiss Brassy Ringlet (E.tyndaris) (photo) and this a Mountain Ringlet (E.epiphron)(photo). (Please correct me if I am wrong!) By now the sky was already clouding over again (photo) and, although I was at about 1,350 m asl, I still had a good 30-minute walk to get to shelter. It then started to pour and I was soaked by the time I reached the mountain refuge. A warm lunch was welcome and luckily after 2 hours the sun came out again and I climbed higher, up to about 2,700m (photo). At this altitude, disappointingly there were no butterflies apparently flying except for, what I believe to be, Shepherd's Fritillaries (Boloria pales) (photo, photo, photo) (or are they Mountain Fritillaries - Boloria napaea?). The sky was now becoming overcast again, and having started my downward trek, I spotted a couple of Skippers on some marshy ground (photo)and later identified them as Dusky Grizzled Skippers (Pyrgus cacaliae) - a new species for me. I saw little of interest on the rest of the way down, mostly due to the fact that the sun had disappeared, it was quite cool and later started raining again.
My second day in the Val di Rabbi and another 1000m climb - along a different route this time - but with similarly bad weather. Here is a Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae) (photo) The only new sightings were Titania's Fritillaries (Clossiana titania) (photo, photo ) and at 2,124m, this single Large Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus alveus) (photo, photo) - another new species for me. Here is a view from the spot (photo).
2nd: Although I live very close to Monte Baldo, I have only once before scaled the upper slopes of the mountain to investigate the butterfly species found there, even though it is one of the best-documented areas in north Italy and boasts very interesting species. The previous occasion was two years ago, early in the season when a violent storm hit as I got to the 2.000m zone, forcing me to give up my search and descend. This year, although the weather was not very promising, before even starting my walk up, I got some long-awaited photos of some Stygian Ringlets (Erebia styx) (photo, photo) just by the side of the road at about 1,500m asl (photo of location). The sun broke through the clouds during my 600m climb but, surprisingly, no butterflies revealed themselves at all. It was only after walking for 30 minutes at the back of the rifugio at 2,200m asl that I came across a Silky Ringlet (Erebia gorge- triopes form) - a new species for me (photo, photo, photo). Here is the location with a good view of Lake Garda down below (photo). Clouds and mist soon rolled over the crest of the mountain and the rest of my three hours on the ridge of the mountain were mainly spent with visibility down to about 20m (photo), but with occasional breaks in the mist which allowed weak sunshine to warm the rocky terrain and bring out a handful of butterflies. I was lucky to have this Sooty Ringlet (Erebia pluto - nicholli form) - another new species for me - settle on the path I was on, allowing me to get a few photos of it (photo, photo) before it flew off to disappear amongst the stones of the scree. Any attempt to get nearer proved potentially dangerous as the stones started slipping down the mountain as any weight was put on them. Here is the spot (photo). As it was getting cloudier and threatening rain at this point, I decided to call it a day and came down the mountain.
8th: Encouraged by my butterfly sightings on Monte Baldo 6 days ago, I decided to venture up there again to try to get some better photos of the species seen. Today the weather was decidedly better and I set out to walk along the ridge more-or-less from one end of the mountain to the other. A very enjoyable walk with some spectacular views in all directions and especially of Lake Garda and the mounatins to the west (photo) but I came back with fewer decent photos than I got in the mist and cloud last time, the main problem being the difficult terrain (photo) and the number of people on the path. The most common butterflies were in fact Silky Ringlets (E.gorge)(photo), closely followed by Painted Ladies, but I was disappointed that I didn't come across any more Sooty Ringlets (E.pluto). I also had a further disappointment when I discovered near the bottom of the mountain that my butterfly net had slipped out from my rucksack. Despite retracing my steps up half the mountain (I was already very tired), I didn't find it and eventually gave up.
14th-17th. A 4-day camping trip took us to Valmalene near Pieve Tesino. One particularly long walk took us up to 2,480m asl with some incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys (photo, photo). I was very pleased to come across a Purple Emperor (Apatura iris) (photo) at the very beginning of the walk at 1,100m but I didn't see anything of particular interest during the rest of the walk. The weather gradually got worse during our 4 days, often starting off damp but sunny, with increasing cloud cover during the early afternoon, leading to storms and persistent rain later in the day (photo taken near Passo Brocon). A short walk the next day resulted in the sighting of another Purple Emperor (photo) not looking in quite such good condition as the one before.
After my higher altitude walks this year, I had virtually given up on seeing any Apollo butterflies at this point in the season, but, much to my surprise, while looking for a stopping place for a picnic lunch on our return from the camping trip, I saw a rather worn Apollo (Parnassius apollo) from the car window. In fact, on further investigation, there were 3 or 4 of the same species flying (photo) and this was at about 800m asl. Lots of Chalk-hill Blues, too.
19th. Meanwhile, down in the valley, a wide variety of other butterflies about. Dryads, Woodland Graylings, Scotch Arguses, fresh-looking Sooty Coppers, Adonis, Common, Provencal Short-tailed and Small Blues, Silver-washed Fritillaries, Queen of Spain Fritillaries, Clouded Yellows, Bergers Clouded Yellows, Red Admirals, White Admirals (most very worn and faded), Swallowtails, Large and Essex Skippers, among others.
23rd: Another trip up a mountain, this time starting in a valley to the west of Trentino - Val Breguzzo (photo of valley). At the beginning of the walk I spotted my first Marbled Fritillary of the year (photo), but what I was really surprised at was the large number of Lesser Mountain Fritillaries around - they were everywhere between 1,200m and 1, 900m asl (photo)! I also found, what I believe is, an Oak Eggar caterpillar (photo) up at about 2000m asl.
September6th-9th: The third trip this year to the Val di Rabbi and a couple of wonderful mid-to-high altitude walks . Views here and here. The most common butterflies were Scarce Coppers (Lycaena virgaureae) (photo) and Marbled Ringlets (Erebia montana) (photo) but there were also plenty of Water Ringlets (Erebia pronoe) around, as well as Small Apollos, Niobe Fritillaries, Dark Green Fritillaries Queen of Spain Fritilaries and Brassy Ringlets (photo - with the butterfly's wings refracting a rainbow of colours. I believe it to be Erebia cassioides). This caterpilar also crossed my path (photo).
19th: Swallowtail caterpillar in a very visible position. (photo)
Rest of September: Superb sunny, warm weather for the whole month of September. However, I didn't have much time to get out and didn't spot anything unusual or of patrticular interest for the time of year.
October7th: This is the time of year for finding wandering Convolvulus Hawkmoth caterpillars. Here is one! (photo) Generally, a warm month with temperatures ranging from 2C to 23C in the valley bottom. Some rain.
27th: A cold start to the month with some crisp frosts in the morning and some snow on the mountains, which must have killed off many butterflies. Max temp in the valley: 18C. Although I only saw one Wall butterfly during the first part of the month, on the 27th I came across 6 Red Admirals on the wing during my walk up my local hill (view, view).
December1st: Photo of sunset.
23rd: A cold first half of the month. Some mild afternoons later on and one Red Admiral out and about on 23rd December (photo). No rain at all for the whole month! The only snow on the local mountains is on the artificially-prepared ski-slopes.