Évolène

Arran brown Erebia ligea Large wall brown, Lasiommata maera

From our campsite in the village it was only a short walk to a large area of forest which continued until about 2000m in the direction of Pic d'Artsinol.

At the lower end, about 1400m altitude, there were a number of flowery clearings which attracted many species. Amongst which were Arran brown Erebia ligea, Large wall brown, Lasiommata maera, Dusky meadow brown, Hyponephele lycaon, Carline skipper, Pyrgus carlinae and Damon blue, Agrodiaetus damon.

  Carline skipper, Pyrgus carlinae

Dusky meadow brown, Hyponephele lycaon Damon blue, Agrodiaetus damon
There was a delightfully shaded path through the woods towards Vernec. Crossing a small stream at about 1780m we came across a bank of bare stones which had a number of Ringlets, Erebia species flying. Amongst them Piedmont ringlet, Erebia meolans and Water ringlet, Erebia pronoe.

Piedmont ringlet, Erebia meolans Water ringlet, Erebia pronoe

False heath fritillary, Melitaea diamina Melitaea diamina, Titania's fritillary

A few metres further on and we entered an amazing field full of flowers. Everywhere you looked were Butterflies flying. Blues, Fritillaries, Browns, Ringlets and Skippers. It took a couple of hours to begin to sort out what was what. Some species not mentioned elsewhere include False heath fritillary, Melitaea diamina, Titania's fritillary, Clossiana titania, Large grizzled skipper, Pyrgus alveus and Amanda's blue, Agrodiaetus amanda.

  Large grizzled skipper, Pyrgus alveus

  Amanda's blue, Agrodiaetus amanda

Mountain green-veined white, Artogeia bryoniae

At the top end of this area the trees gave way to grassland. Just before that happened was a marshy area which was favoured by the Mountain green-veined white, Artogeia bryoniae. Also an incredible collection of blues were puddling beside a rock. Included amongst the number were Mazarine blue, Cyaniris semiargus and Alpine blue - Albulina orbitulus.

  Mazarine blue, Cyaniris semiargus Alpine blue - Albulina orbitulus

We only ventured a little way past the tree-line, although we walked up Pic d'Artsinol another day, over the grassland there were many Lesser mountain ringlet, Erebia melampus and Niobe fritillary - Argynnis niobe (although both common from the stream onwards), 

Niobe fritillary - Argynnis niobe Lesser mountain ringlet, Erebia melampus

 
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© All pictures in these pages copyright to Simon Coombes. Permission must be sought and obtained for any use.