Finally found a Gomphus flavipes - River Clubtail

After several attempts to photograph the Gomphus flavipes - River Clubtail, I finally succeeded. In mid-June 2019, I drove early morning towards the river IJssel with the hope of finding hatching dragonflies. Although this was still very early in the year, the warm weather ensured that these dragonflies began to fly early. It took me little effort to find about four specimens that just began to crawl out of the water.

Gomphus flavipes - River Clubtail
Gomphus flavipes - River Clubtail

From the moment the larvae came out of the water until the dragonfly emerged took quite some time. Think I have been waiting for at least two hours, but finally the dragonfly was there. Before they had some decent color they flew away from the water, and I could go home to view my photos. All in all, a very nice experience.

Gomphus flavipes - River Clubtail
Gomphus flavipes - River Clubtail



End of May - France / Germany

Made a tour through France and Germany in a long weekend at the end of May. The first target was the Euphydryas aurinia - Marsh Fritillary. Despite the fact that I didn't expect much from the first location, it was a beautiful place with quite a lot of butterflies as well. The Euphydryas aurinia - Marsh Fritillary flew here in reasonable numbers and there were also several Aporia crataegiAporia crataegi - Black-veined White The Fritillaries were all pretty old and somehow they were not very photogenic. After a pile of mediocre photos we drove a little further to look for the Lycaena helle - Violet Copper. Unfortunately we didn't find many Lycaena helle - Violet Copper but I made at least one nice picture.

Lycaena helle - Violet Copper
Lycaena helle - Violet Copper

In the afternoon we drove towards the Lycaena hippothoes - Purple-edged Copper. There were plenty of butterflies flying here too, but it was too hot and the butterflies were way too busy. Towards the end of the day we tried to find sleeping butterflies so we didn't have to search the next morning.
The next morning everything was covered with a nice layer of dew, and the sun rose to give everything some more color. Really a wonderful sight to see such a beautiful butterfly resting covered with little pearls. The illuminating background completes the picture for me.

Lycaena hippothoes - Purple-edged Copper
Lycaena hippothoes - Purple-edged Copper



May holiday 2019

During the May holiday (end of April) I went on holiday with my wife and kids by plane to visit Sicily, Italy. We booked a large room in a converted farmhouse in the middle of a lemon grove. We stayed at a beautiful place, with a lot of Podarcis wagleriana - %%%%%% and an occasional Tarentola mauritanica - %%%%%%. I imagined that there would also be butterflies flying around, but that was quite disappointing. The island was also very dirty and everywhere you went, there was rubbish on the street and roadside.
In addition to visiting villages and various ruins, we of course also had to see the volcano Etna. During the car ride to the volcano I already saw some Anthocharis damone - Eastern orange tip flying around, and was hopeful to be able to find the butterflies on the volcano. After climbing the first part by chair lift, we arrive at a kind of moon landscape where no flower or butterfly could be found. We took a beautiful walk through this bizarre landscape.

Family on the volcano Mount Etna (Sicily)
Family on the volcano Mount Etna (Sicily)

Enthusiastic about the butterflies I had seen flying, I had to search the next day. Early in the morning, when it was still dark, I went out to look for butterflies. Once I arrived at the spot where I hoped to find the Eastern orange tip - Anthocharis damone, I soon managed to find a few butterflies sleeping on the host plant. Because I was looking at the foot of Mount Etna, some thin clouds accumulate against the volcano and because of that I had no sun. Although I only took pictures with closed wings, I was still satisfied with the pictures and the fact that I found this special species. Around 9 o'clock I was back at my family again.
Because I still wanted to take a photo with open wings, I went back to the same place the next day. The weather looked fine, but when I arrived at the destination it was cloudy again, so again no photo with open wings. It was nice tough to find a couple who have spent the night together on the host plant (Wede).

Eastern orange tip - Anthocharis damone on host plant
Eastern orange tip - Anthocharis damone on host plant

Since I didn't have many days left, and didn't want to be too tired, I spend one last morning to go searching. Fortunately this time it was nice and clear, three times is the charm ... With a lot of effort I managed to photograph a male and female with open wings. What a fantastic beautiful butterfly!

Eastern orange tip - Anthocharis damone
Eastern orange tip - Anthocharis damone

When it was getting too hot again by 7:15 am and I slowly walked towards my car to leave again, a strange butterfly flew by. I quickly took a picture before the butterfly took off like crazy again. The butterfly was an Italian Zerynthia cassandra - %%%%%%%%. Not a great photo, but very nice to unexpectedly encounter a new species.

Zerynthia cassandra - %%%%%%%%
Zerynthia cassandra - %%%%%%%%

After this beautiful morning my camera did not leave my bag anymore, and the four of us enjoyed the last bit of vacation.