2019France

FRANCE 2019


A family trip which was more about walking/doing the tourist thing than it was about looking at wildlife. Rather than do a full round-up, this is just a summary of some of the wildlife seen.


7 August - 18 August, Ecrins National Park


Our second visit to this truly beautiful area. The scenery was as wonderful as we remembered, apart from the fact that there seemed to be a clear reduction in the size of glaciers.



Birdwise we saw very little; we have seen wallcreeper here before. We did see several nutcrackers but only in flight and I was never quick enough to get a shot.


The only mammals seen, and more often heard, were Alpine marmots.




Apart from a briefly seen green lizard the only reptiles were common wall lizards. In this photo, one is trying to grab a Jersey tiger moth: it was unsuccessful.

Butterflies were plentiful but, as always, identification wasn’t always straight forward. Here’s a selection. Please do let me know about any errors.


Apollo


Black-veined white





Heath fritillary




Marbled fritillary



A couple of spurge hawk-moth caterpillars were seen. 



Orthoptera are present in high numbers in the Alps.


wart-biter




upland green bush-cricket



mottled bush-cricket



male brown mountain grasshopper




female brown mountain grasshopper


Other insects included:


Saperda carcharais


Lygaus saxatilis



18 August - 23 August/24 August - 29 August


The north Dordogne including the Dronne Valley and Foret de la Double/Various sites close to the Dordogne river.


Probably my highlight here was this superb asp viper.



Another reptile highlight was 7 viperine snakes seen at night in a small area ofGrand Etang La Jamaye.



My main target species of the trip was lesser purple emperor. I failed dismally to see it at the ‘sites’ I had for this species but I did see one - thus completing the set of European purple emperors - while looking around the attractive village of Gurat,



Other butterflies included:

dryad



and mallow skipper.



The Odonata highlight was orange-spotted emerald.

male and female broad broad scarlet



Moving onto the Orthoptera, Raymond’s bush-cricket was a new species for me.

large-winged conehead

heath grasshopper


We heard lots of cicadas, and seen loads in Asia, but this Cicada orni was - I think - the first cicada I’d ever seen in Europe.



This giant woodwasp, also seen in the Alps, was an impressive insect.



Balloons over The Dordogne.



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