June 2014

24th-30th June 2014
Valais, Switzerland

My second month in Valais started as the first month left off...photographing the abundant butterflies and flowers.

Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe) resting on a Greater Knapweed flower bud.

Although you can never use it as a reliable identification aid, it always makes a nice photo when a butterfly roosts on its larval foodplant!

Safflower Skipper (Pyrgus carthami)

copulating Silver-studded Blues (Plebejus argus)

copulating Silver-studded Blues (Plebejus argus)

copulating Silver-studded Blues (Plebejus argus)

Great Sooty Satyr (Satyrus ferula)

Mountain Clouded Yellow (Colias phicomone)

male Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus)

female Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus)

Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae)

Five-spot Burnet (Zygaena trifolii)

Oak Eggar (Lasiocampus quercus)

Pygmy Moth (Thyris fenestrella)

I found several new orchids this week as some of the later flowering species, such as Dark Red and Broad-leaved Helleborines, started to come into bloom.

Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine)

Dark Red Helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens)

Dark Red Helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens)

Violet Limodore (Limodorum abortivum)

Violet Limodore (Limodorum abortivum)

Frog Orchid (Coeloglossum viride)

Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha)

The easiest way of separating the two species of Butterfly Orchid that occur in Valais is by examining the relative angles of the pollonia. In Greater Butterfly Orchid they are wide apart and diverging while they are parallel in Lesser Butterfly Orchid.

Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha)

Mountain Houseleek (Sempervivum montanum)

Narcissus-flowered Anenome (Anenome narcissiflora)

Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)

Dark Mullein (Verbascum nirgum)

Pale-green Wintergreen (Pyrola chlorantha)

Nodding Wintergreen (Orthilia secunda)

A day spent in the high passes searching for Bearded Vultures, or Lammergeiers as they are also known, was pretty successful with an adult quartering back and forth several times along the ridge directly opposite from my vantage point. The images below are cropped a quite bit, but are about as good as you can reasonably hope for without access to a nest or a feeding site. These birds are part of an ongoing re-introduction programme which is slowly garnering some success with successful breeding occurring in an adjacent valley last year.

Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)

Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)

16th-23rd June (Valais, Switzerland) 2014 index 1st-7th July (Valais, Switzerland)