In search of the Bog Fritillary and the Violet Copper
After my friend left, I crossed the border into Germany and drove to the little village of Mützenich. My hotel there was close to the Perlenbachtal, the Eifel National Park and Hohes Venn. Three great opportunities to explore new butterfly areas.
After some driving over countryroads and a few wrong turns, I arrived at my destination in the Perlenbachtal. There, I hoped to see the Bog Fritillary (Boloria eunomia) and the Violet Copper (Lycaena helle). For both it would have been very early in the season so my expectations were low. Well, the butterflies certainly did not disappoint me…
There were two challenges: a strong wind blew through the valley. And the marshes and orchids in the valley are very vulnerable, so visitors must stays on the paths. Luckily there were enough blooming flowers directly next to the path. With the help of my telezoom and a fast shutter speed the following picture was taken of the Bog Fritillary:
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM f/5.6 1/640 ISO 500
While I only saw two or three Bog Fritillaries, the Violet Coppers were abundant:
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM f/4.5 1/320 ISO 160
The next morning I returned hoping to capture a Bog Fritillary sleeping, covered in dew with a little Sunshine lighting it up. Why not go for the first prize, mind you? Nature sometimes cooperates, sometimes not. It was around 6:00 in the morning – again – and the valley was completely covered in a thick fog. Fritillaries nowhere in sight….
But somehow nature showed mercy. While in Holland I did not manage to produce a satisfying photo of an Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines) here I found three in short order. Particularly this one was begging to be pictured.
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM f/4.0 1/100 ISO 500
And after a lot of searching, one single Violet Copper showed itself taking cover from the rains
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM f/4.0 1/500 ISO 800
Then the sun started to shine and the valley became a spectacle of light. Taken with my smartphone!
“Always bring your camera along”
The next day I went into Eifel National Park, but the path to the butterfly area was closed for access. My bad luck. I saw some other butterflies, nothing special and returned after a frustrating 8km walk with my heavy backpack full of equipment. I had had this load on for the whole week and my back started to tell me it had had enough. Therefore, the next day, I decided on a long walk with only a small backpack with some refreshments. The second leg (Etappe 2) of the Eifelsteig, a long distance walk through the region, was running directly from my hotel. It would be 17 beautiful kilometers through forests and along streams. Somewhere in Hohes Venn, I thought I saw something interesting: two mating Common Blues. I took a closer look and…indeed! A scene that has been on my wishlist for years. Literally a few meters further, another couple in love. Took a picture with my smartphone of course, but for macro it is close to useless. Sh*t! The lesson here it to always bring your camera along!
Now back in Holland, the butterfly season profits from exceptionally warm and Sunny weather. Let’s see what the season will bring. Hope you will read more in my next blog.