Still got the blues for you…

Four different blue butterflies on lavender

A week of hiking in the Morvan, Bourgogne, France resulted not only in pleasant memories of wine and croissants, but also in a colourful end of the butterfly season.

The week started off with overcast conditions and 18ºC. Not a single butterfly was flying around. But every day we hiked the temperature rose by 1 or 2 degrees, so we ended up hiking in 28ºC under clear blue skies. At our second B&B, the lavender bushes were blooming and at least fifty Blues were feasting on it. This pair of mating Common Blue (Polyommatus Icarus) was the highlight of the week:

Common blue polyommatus icarus mating butterfly

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM   f/4.0   1/2000   ISO 100

I was so overwhelmed by the number of butterflies, all of them flying madly around and chasing after each other that it took me some time to discover that not all were Common Blues. Below is a Mazarine Blue (Cyaniris semiargus)

Mazarine blue cyaniris semiargus butterfly

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM   f/5.6   1/200   ISO 100

Then I spotted a butterfly resembling the female Common Blue, but it looked a little bit more chocolate brown and on closer inspection, it appeared to be an Adonis Blue (Polyommatus Bellargus).

Adonis blue polyommatus bellargus butterfly

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM   f/5.0   1/800   ISO 100

Last but not least, a single Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) completed the spectacle.

Brown argus aricia agestis butterfly

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM   f/4.0   1/2500   ISO 100

C’était formidable!

Mud puddling butterflies

A great gathering of butterflies on a rocky slope in Mercantour NP

So many butterflies and so many species together! This was heaven for the butterfly buff! The spectacle of mud puddling butterflies is well known: they lick salt and minerals from the mud and rocks. A peculiarity is that only males gather in such numbers.

On holiday in Southern France last July, my wife and I walked along a rocky slope with a small stream when suddenly a cloud of butterflies rose into the air: we had literally stumbled into this mud puddling group. After maybe 30 seconds or so, they settled down again. I went onto my knees to look through the viewfinder and check the species. This was the colourful spectacle in front of my camera:A congregation of mud puddling butterflies in Mercantour NP

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM   f/8   1/320   ISO 100

Then, you know there is only one option left: get down flat on your belly and start looking for the best shots. Like this Small Blue (Cupido minimus)…

A small blue cupido minimus butterfly licking salt and minerals from the rocks

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM   f/5.6   1/320   ISO 100

…and this Eros Blue (Polyommatus Eros)

Polyommatus eros blue butterfly licking saltCanon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM   f/5.0   1/320   ISO 100

After some 30 minutes my back and knees started to complain about the rocky ground, so I rose again (ouch!) but surely I did not complain at all…what a great day it had been for butterfly photography!