Marseilles South of France 2017

Discussion forum for any overseas items (given that this is a "UK" butterflies forum!).
Chris Jackson
Posts: 1424
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:27 pm

16th February
First Large Tortoiseshell (x 2) of the year seen today near my workplace in Vitrolles, at 15°C, sunny but cool.
They were flying around these oak trees where I stongly suspect they hibernate. They may already have been holed up in a nook in these trees during the wildfires on August 10th and thus survived the flames. You can see that the surrounding bushes and greenery have not recovered from the fire yet, apart from a very thin carpet of grass and weeds.
polychloros27 Vitrolles friche 16Feb17 (3).JPG

context polychloros Vitrolles friche 16Feb17.JPG

A handful of Red Admirals have also been seen over the winter, but this winter has not been as mild as the last.
Chris
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

User avatar
LancsRover
Posts: 521
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:55 am
Location: CHORLEY, LANCASHIRE

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby LancsRover » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:43 pm

Hi Chris, good to hear from you again, 1st report of the year?
Regards Russ

User avatar
David M
Posts: 6651
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby David M » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:11 pm

Good to see images of your patch again, Chris (although you mustn't rub it in by describing 15c as "cool"!!!)

Should be interesting to see which plants are first to get a toe-hold after last summer's carnage.

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1424
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:15 am

Hi Russ,
I've been following your Spain trip. You seem to be seeing less butterflies than last time, but at least you're visiting sights in clement weather.

Hi David,
You pre-empted my next post!

This week my first Giant Orchid flowered in the otherwise-bare scrub, and others are coming up rapidly. Clearly the bulbs survived last summer's fire underground.
Orchis géant Vitrolles 15Feb17 (2).JPG

Orchis géant Vitrolles 15Feb17 (3).JPG

Winter is the main period for White Rocket which is found on waste ground and alongside pathways.
Fausse-roquette blanche Vitrolles 15Feb17 (2).JPG

Alpine Pennycress is an interesting plant with its heart-shaped leaves. Burnt remains of scrub bushes can be seen in the background.
Tabouret bleu Vitrolles 15Feb17 (2).JPG

Chris
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

User avatar
David M
Posts: 6651
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby David M » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:20 pm

Keep posting these images, Chris. There could be a few surprises over the coming months as the habitat temporarily changes into something new.

Wherever foodplants are, butterflies will follow.

Your Giant Orchid isn't a bad start!

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1424
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:33 pm

David M wrote:Keep posting these images, Chris ...


I will, David, particularly as it seems Spring is on my doorstep:
17°C in Marseilles today. I got my first sighting of a Nettle-tree Butterfly along this path next to a dry river bed.
This individual was nectaring high up on a tall Viburnum, hence the poor quality distant shot.
celtis16 La Barasse 18Feb17.JPG

context La Barasse 18Feb17.JPG

Also seen: 1 x Large White, 1 x Large Tortoiseshell, 1 x Cleopatra (male).
Chris
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

User avatar
CFB
Posts: 541
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:06 pm
Location: Valbonne, Alpes-Maritimes, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby CFB » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:13 pm

That's a good start for the year Chris. I've only seen one, or possibly two, Red Admirals and a male Brimstone, but no photos. So I took some photos of flowers instead, including Crocus versicolor,

IMG_3115.JPG

Globularia alypum,

IMG_3127.JPG

and Anemone hortensis.

IMG_3135.JPG

Cheers,
Colin

User avatar
David M
Posts: 6651
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby David M » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:17 pm

Nice image of the Nettle Tree Butterfly, Chris, and yet another reminder of how many more early species are available on the continent.

This butterfly may as well belong to the Hairstreak family, given its propensity to settle at a height generally way above that of a standing human head!! :(

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1424
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:46 pm

Hello Colin,
The vegetation is lusher over your way in the Maritime Alps. After last year's fires, my Globularia alypum has only grown back to this stage, at best :
Globularia alypum Vitrolles olive grove 20Feb17.JPG

David,
The year ticks are coming on fast, I've had 8 over the last 3 days. Today I ticked off Small Copper, Bath White, Clouded Yellow and Small White (just one of each seen).
The Small Copper was a shock, this shouldn't be around for a few weeks yet.
phlaeas34 Vitrolles olive grove 22Feb17.JPG

The Bath White is on the wing but I havn't seen E. crameri yet.
daplidice31 Vitrolles scrub 22Feb17.JPG

The Humming-bird Hawk Moth has been around for 3 weeks now (this was a lucky shot from the hip on the move).
Macroglossum stellatarum Vitrolles olive grove 20Feb17.JPG

Chris
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1424
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:59 pm

Saturday 4th of March
Hi Folks.
So, what's been going on lately in central southern France ?
At my workplace in Vitrolles, not a lot. Before the fires of last summer I had 45+ species of butterfly on my doorstep at work over the season - this year will be more frugal. However I am pleasantly surprised by the recovery of plants. On time for the season, this is Narcissus dubius coming up in the burnt out scrub:
Narcisse douteux Vitrolles scrub 01Mar17.JPG

I have nonetheless spotted a few Bath Whites:
daplidice Vitrolles scrub 01Mar17 (1).JPG

... nectaring on White Rocket:
daplidice Vitrolles olive grove 01Mar17 (2).JPG
daplidice Vitrolles olive grove 01Mar17 (1).JPG


Down in the olive grove, basic vegetation is pushing back up:
context Vitrolles olive grove 01Mar17.JPG

Closer to home in Marseilles, this Friday, I saw my first Green Hairstreaks, although some forums have been reporting GH sightings for well over a week now in my area. Here, one of two individuals who were particularly interested in an Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree - criteria do not point however to C. avis :( ):
rubi Parc des Bruyères 03Mar17 (28).JPG

Locally in suburban Marseille I also had the opportunity of seeing 3 different hibernators (over-winterers) together in exactly the same spot in this dried up river bed (the trees really are leaning, not my camera!):
context La Barasse 03Mar17 (2).JPG
context La Barasse 03Mar17 (1).JPG

Large Tortoiseshell
polychloros La Barasse 03Mar17 (1).JPG

Nettle-tree Butterfly (perched high up as usual, on Viburnum)
celtis La Barasse 03Mar17 (2).JPG

Comma
c-album La Barasse 03Mar17 (2).JPG

+ male Cleopatras (no females yet).
My first Wall Brown of the year
megera male La Barasse 03Mar17 (1).JPG

I have also had reports of Holly Blue, but these creatures are avoiding me and my camera for the moment.
Cheers, Chris
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

User avatar
David M
Posts: 6651
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby David M » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:03 pm

Is it the cooler weather that keeps these male Bath Whites relatively still, Chris. When I see them during the summer, they don't stop at all.

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1424
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:11 am

David M wrote:Is it the cooler weather that keeps these male Bath Whites relatively still, Chris. When I see them during the summer, they don't stop at all.

I think you are right about a cool breeze pinning Bath Whites down early in the season, David.
Their behaviour may be dictated by temperature.
For example, in the south of Les Bouches du Rhône, in Vitrolles, at 100 metres altitude, they have a very strict diapause from the second week in June to the last week in August inclusive, whereas 40 km inland and at 650 metres altitude (although barely any cooler), their flight period is continuous with only an end-of-season peak in September/October. I presume the Bath Whites you see are at altitude, precisely during the diapause that I note down south in the plain.

Chris
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

User avatar
CFB
Posts: 541
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:06 pm
Location: Valbonne, Alpes-Maritimes, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby CFB » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:49 am

Chris Jackson wrote:I have also had reports of Holly Blue...

Hello Chris,

I saw two or three Holly Blues this morning, but they were very active, so no photos. I also saw one female Wall Brown, a few male Brimstones and two male Cleopatras, and several females which were either Brimstones or Cleopatras, it being difficult to determine exactly which as they also were very active.

Cheers,
Colin

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1424
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:59 pm

Hi Colin,
Your sightings seem to match mine, apart from the Holly Blue which as yet I have not seen this year. They are never seen in large numbers in Marseilles anyway although I am constantly on the look-out.

These last few days have been exceptionally mild around Marseilles with a lo of 15°C and a hi of 22°C.
Large Whites have suddenly increased in numbers:
brassicae18 pair Vitrolles friche 10Mar17 (1).JPG

Green Hairstreaks are starting their 3rd week in some places. Their flight period may well be over down here in the South long before it starts in the UK :shock: :
rubi35 Col de xxx 11Mar17.JPG

Bath Whites are currently a familiar sight:
daplidice male 11Mar17 (3).JPG

This waterhole near the Sainte Baume mountain, linked to the watertable apparently, is overflowing and creating a stream. Roger G. should recognise this spot (but without the over-flowing water).
Waterhole Vallon du xxxx 11Mar17 (1).JPG
Waterhole Vallon du xxxx 11Mar17 (2).JPG

Chris
Last edited by Chris Jackson on Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

User avatar
David M
Posts: 6651
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby David M » Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:07 pm

Looks to be a tremendous spot with that water dampening the area, Chris. It'd be nice if it stayed moist for another month or so as it would undoubtedly prove to be a huge lure.

Interesting to read your comments regarding Green Hairstreaks. Up in the Mercantour mountains we still find the odd geriatric rubi in early July!!

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1424
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:28 pm

Thanks for your comments David.
In the South of France we are in a latent period between late winter and early Spring. This is when we see many common Pierids pending the arrival of the Orange Tip - the true herald of Spring.
Monday : Lo of 10°C and Hi of 19°C
Today in my Olive Grove in Vitrolles, recovering slowly from last year's fires:
Small Whites:
rapae14 pair Vitrolles friche 13Mar17.JPG

The Olive Grove:
context Vitrolles friche 13Mar17.JPG

Grape Hyacinths are in flower at the moment:
Muscari négligé Vitrolles friche 13Mar17.JPG

Chris
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1424
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:31 pm

Hi Folks,
This week in the South of France, Spring has arrived.
Today's sightings included the Provence Hairstreak:
ballus2_13 17Mar17 (3).JPG

This sighting may be early for this species.
Here is the context:
context 17Mar17 (1).JPG

There were also several Orange Tip sightings in the Marseilles area today:
cardamines1_13 La Barasse 17Mar17 (3).JPG

Whilst I was trying to concentrate on the Orange Tips, a Holly Blue Drew my attention. It was initially attracted to a crushed berry on the path:
argiolus1_13 La Barasse 17Mar17 (1).JPG

I saw my first Mallow Skipper today. It was seen in the same place and at the same time as last year:
alceae1_13 Col de l'Ange 17Mar17 (1).JPG

Earlier this week, at work, I saw Irises coming up in the scrub (Iris lutenscens).
Iris des garrigues Vitrolles scrub 14Mar17.JPG

I wouldn't mind some help with the ID of this low-lying plant please :
plante Vitrolles scrub 14Mar17.JPG

Spring should not be far behind in the UK. :D
Chris
Last edited by Chris Jackson on Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

User avatar
LancsRover
Posts: 521
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:55 am
Location: CHORLEY, LANCASHIRE

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby LancsRover » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:53 pm

Nice shot of the Provence Hairstreak Chris, they are out here in Spain but I've no photo yet.
Russ

User avatar
David M
Posts: 6651
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby David M » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:46 pm

Did you see the Provence Hairstreak locally, Chris, or did you have to travel somewhat further east?

essexbuzzard
Posts: 1037
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:23 pm

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby essexbuzzard » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:53 pm

The flower looks like it may be some sort of mignonette, though not one I've seen so not certain.

Bit jealous of you Provence hairstreak, I'm yet to see one! :mrgreen:


Return to “Overseas”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 0 guests