Day 1 – Spent the morning along the riverside in our Haute Savoie base at 700m with weather gradually improving. Investigated any rough waste ground and gradually accounted for Marbled White, Small Heath, Small and Large Skipper, Small and Large Whites, Wood White, Short Tailed Blue, Provencal Short Tailed Blue, Holly Bue, White Admiral, Marbled Fritillary, Heath Fritillary, ubiquitous Meadow Brown and Ringlet and penultimately Arran Brown. Finally, an Emperor put in a brief aerobatic display, taunting us by not revealing it’s true identity!!
In the afternoon we set off to the top of one of the local peaks, a flattish basin at 1700m with a small lake. Here we had a very warm afternoon, and saw Mazarine Blue, Moorland Clouded Yellow, Alpine Heath, Dark Green Fritillary, Mountain Ringlet, Bright Eyed Ringlet and my first totally new species of my trip.... Blind Ringlet.
We ventured slowly down the Alpine road back into our valley base, stopping off in the early evening sun in several places, finding some further amenable local species as we went...Titania’s Fritillary, Black Veined White, Geranium Argus ( all well worn) and False Heath Fritillary.
All in all, a good day, and a promising start, with weather set to be fair and new pastures to investigate. It was already evident that 2011 was an early season for many butterfly species, and this was indeed clear from the start, with the promise of some early emergent later flying species ahead. We were’nt to be disappointed.
More days and photos to come