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EXCURSION NOTES 2019  (including many photos) - Scroll down

 
For a complete list of species and identified by me this year, click on:Year List 2019
For previous Excursion Notes (with photos), please click on year:201820172016201520142013
For previous Year Lists, please click on year:201820172016201520142013
 
 Excursion Notes 2019
January
26th:  A fairly cold period, but with the sun shining this morning on a sheltered part of my local hill, I spotted my first butterfly of the year - a rather tattered-looking Red Admiral  (Vanessa Atlanta). I didn't have my camera, so no photo.
February
16th: A real spring-like day with warm sunshine and today I had my new camera with me. An hour-long local walk brought sightings of about 10 butterflies in all -  4 or 5 Red Admirals, most of them looking quite worn (photo, photo), 4 or 5 Small Tortoiseshells (photo) and one unidentified white, which flew along in the distance - presumably a Green-veined White, usually the earliest on the wing in my area. Here are two views across the valley from the hillside farm track I was on. (photo, photo). 
22nd: The very mild weather in February continues and in a sheltered vineyard just 150m from home there were 3 butterflies: a white, which disappeared before I had a chance to take a photo, this Peacock (photo) and this Comma (photo).
March
10th: Another really spring-like day and a nice lunchtime walk on my local hill at about 600m asl. There were lots of butterflies flying: the most common of which were Commas (photo, photo, photo) and Large tortoiseshells (photo of two together here), but I also saw Brimstones, Nettle Tree Butterflies, Green-veined Whites (photo) and one (or two) Green Hairstreaks.  There were also lots of these Orange Underwing moths (photo)..
15th: We're having a mid-March heat-wave at the moment with most daily temperatures well-above the average for the time of year. I took advantage of the warm sunny weather to go for walk in a side valley about 10 minutes drive from my house, in the hope of seeing some Camberwell Beauties near the stream there. This is the lane I walked down (photo) and here's a photo looking back towards Beseno Castle with the main valley behind it. No Camberwell Beauties but lots of Nettle Tree butterflies (photo, photo) and one showing the buds of the tree they were feeding on (photo). This blossom on this nearby cherry tree also attracted some Brimstones  (photo, photo)and a Scarce Swallowtail (photo) - the second one of the day, as I had seen another one earlier as I left home flying across my garden. Another butterfly first for the year was this Queen of Spain Fritillary (photo) - a butterfly which I only usually see at a slightly higher altitude and, I believe, a couple of Southern Small Whites, of which I only have poor photos. I also rescued this caterpillar which I found suffering from the heat in the middle of the lane (photo).
16th: A similar day today to yesterday but with hazy sunshine, and a walk in another side valley - this time about 20 km further south, towards Verona. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to charge up my camera battery so no photos were possible, which was a great pity because there were a lot of photo opportunities. Here is a list of my sightings: Red Admiral, Commas (lots), Small Tortoishells (several), Brimstones (lots), Large Tortoiseshells, Nettle Tree Butterflies, Peacocks, Green-veined Whites, a Scarce Swallowtail, an extremely small Swallowtail (pity about my camera for this one!), a Green Hairstreak, a Queen of Spain Fritillary and a Holly Blue - a total of 13 species.
April
19-28th
A few days in Zagreb gave me the opportunity to go butterfly hunting in and around the city and, being reasonably lucky with the sunny weather for most of  them, I was rewarded with some fairly good photo opportunities. Along the River Sava just a kilometre or so from the bridges connecting Novi Zagreb to the city centre (photo), I came across this lovely Southern Festoon (Zerynthia polyxena) (photo)(photo) (only the second one I have ever seen - the first being 8 years ago near Arezzo in Italy). There were also several Weaver's Fritillaries (Clossiana dia) around (photo), as well as many Map butterflies Araschnia levana) (photo)(photo) (the first I have of the orange spring brood form). Other species  seen included Peacocks (Aglais io)(photo), Dingy Skippers (Erynnis tages) (photo), Mallow Skippers (Carcharodus alceae) (photo), Grizzled Skippers ((Pyrgus malvae) (photo). Brimstones (Gonepteryx rhamni), Orange Tips (Anthocharis cardamines), Swallowtails (Papilio machaon), Commas (polygonia c-album), Queen of Spain Fritillaries (Issoria lathonia), Wall Browns (Lassiommata megera), Speckled Woods (Pararge aegeria), Small Heaths (Coenonympha pamphilus), Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), Holly Blues (Celastrina argiolus ) and this single Short-tailed Blue (Cupido argiades) (photo). Due to the many small lakes nearby (photo), there were also numerous dragonflies flitting everywhere (photo of one).
Another day, not near the river this time but in a popular park, a Common Glider (Neptis sappho) glided gracefully past me and settled for a moment for a photo attempt before taking off and disappearing (poor photo for the records).
The most common butterfly in these ten days in Croatia has most definitely been the Map butterfly, seen in numerous different locations and sometimes in relatively high numbers. For example, there were 12 or more on or around this bush (photo) at one moment in the late afternoon about 60 km north of Zagreb. Here is a photo of one on the bush and another (photo) taken a few metres away. A Duke of Burgundy Fritillary was also attracted to the white flowers (photo). In another location, I came across my second Southern Festoon (photo) and my second Common Glider, unfortunately with no photo opportunity.
May
1st: Back in Trentino and a warm, sunny May Day holiday brought out lots of butterflies and several new species for the year, all seen in one of my favourite spots not far from Rovereto (photo). Here is an Eastern Short-tailed Blue (photo), a Chequered Blue (photo) and a Glanville Fritillary (photo). There were also Small Coppers, Sooty Coppers, a single Spotted Fritillary and a small Blue on the wing (but no photos were possible of these, unfortunately). This lovely Wood White stopped flitting about for a few moments to pose for a photo, but this Berger's Clouded Yellow rarely stopped on any flower for more than 2 seconds - never quite enough time to get into position for a photo. This was the best I got (photo). I must also find time to identify this small moth (photo).
11th: Another trip to Zagreb for the weekend and another opportunity for a short walk along the River Sava. No Map butterflies this time but plenty of Heath Fritillaries (photo) and one mating couple of Knapweed Fritillaries, showing both the upperside (photo) and the underside (photo)(Sorry that I couldn't attempt to remove the intruding blade of grass in the centre of the picture with risking disturbing the butterflies).
16th:  A short walk, (necessarily so because of very bad back-ache!) in my local area on a cool and fairly cloudy day (photo of location). There were very few butterflies around - probably not surprising after the cold weather and snow we have had recently - but disappointing for mid-May anyway! In 90 minutes I only saw about 15-18 butterflies in total: 1 Green-underside Blue (photo, photo), 1 Green Hairstreak, 1 Orange Tip, 1 Small Blue (photo), 2 Common Blues, 2 Dingy Skippers, 3 or 4 Small Heaths and a few Whites and Queen of Spain Fritillaries,
23rd. Moietto. Green Underside Blues, Glanville Fritillary
June
1st: The target today was the crest of this mountain (photo) hoping on the way up to see if the recent cold wet weather (and snow) had delayed the emergence of the De Prunner's Ringlets which I seem to thrive between 1,300m and 1,600m here. No problems - there were plenty around (photo), but, as usual, not easy to photograph, especially as they kept settling on the pink flowers growing on the unstable rocky screes. Here are some photos of the path and view (photo, photo). Other butterflies on the mountain included some Duke of Burgundy Fritillaries (photo), some Green Hairstreaks (photo), some Woodland Ringlets (photo), the first Pearl-bordered Fritillaries of the year (photo, photo), and this rather worn Northern Wall Brown (photo). The weather was mostly sunny, but still not particularly warm for the time of year.



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