Marseilles South of France 2017

Discussion forum for any overseas items (given that this is a "UK" butterflies forum!).
Sylvie_h
Posts: 187
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:05 pm
Location: West Glam

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Sylvie_h » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:13 pm

Hi Chris,

Interesting observations and nice pictures, you must be very busy at this time of year in the South of France.... I guess from July, everything will start to die off and you will need to go higher up.
Regarding your dragonfly, I would go for Gomphus Simillimus although I would like to see a picture of the side of the thorax. Do you have one? Emergence at this time of year may be a bit early but knowing the area where you are species tend to abide by the weather conditions rather than by the calendar so I would not be surprised to find them 2 weeks earlier.
Sylvie

User avatar
Charles Nicol
Posts: 1193
Joined: Mon May 14, 2007 12:57 pm
Location: Cambridge

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Charles Nicol » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:11 pm

Glad to see that Nature is replenishing your site so quickly Chris ! I enjoyed your Festoon pics especially.

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1477
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:00 pm

Hi Sylvie,
I dont have better views of the dragonfly. As you say, the weather may dictate emergence more than the calendar.
Any holidays planned for France this year ?

Hi Charles,
The Spring butterfly species will soon be making way for the Summer species, and neither of them wait for me. :?

Today, 28 April, South of France, Marseilles area:
A very strong Mistral wind kept most imagos grounded,
However, it was the opportunity to check out some caterpillars:

Despite the strong cold wind, in one day I managed to find 4 different butterfly species' caterpillars. I'm progressing. :)

Some Southern Festoon caterpillars are still in an early stage (4 to 5 mm). I was expecting to see them larger by now:
polyxena - caterpillar 3 à 4 mm Marais de Tête Noire 28Apr17 (7a).JPG

I believe this to be Provence Orange Tip caterpillar on Biscutella laevigata:
(a second opinion is seriously required)
euphenoides - caterpillar1 Parc des Bruyères 28Apr17 (6a).JPG

Here, Western Dappled White caterpillar, also on Biscutella laevigata. It is larger (3.5 cm) because this species flies well before the P.O.T.:
crameri - caterpillar1 3.5 cm St Marcel 28Apr17 (19a).JPG

Orange Tip caterpillar on Arabis sp.:
(The white flower heads have been eaten by the caterpillar)
cardamines - caterpillar St Marcel 28Apr17 (9a).JPG

Some context in the Marseilles area today, with host plants, Biscutella laevigata and Arabis sp., growing alongside this path.
context - St Marcel 28Apr17 (7).JPG

Blue skies, sunny, very strong cold wind ( 14°C ).
context - St Marcel 28Apr17 (6).JPG

"Wish you were here" as the post cards say,
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: 1477
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Mon May 01, 2017 2:57 pm

Hi Folks,
1st of May, intermittent clouds, some sun and a brisk chill wind

Some of the early Spring species are reaching the end of their flight period in my area, such as the Spanish Festoon:
rumina Vallon 01May17.JPG

This one belongs to a small colony at the top of this hill at the base of the rock formation:
Tour Vallon 01May17 (1).JPG

The vicinity of the Spanish Festoon was also playing host to mating Marsh Fritillaries. At least 8 Marshies counted despite the stong wind:
aurinia pair Vallon 01May17 (7).JPG
aurinia pair Vallon 01May17 (5).JPG

The Southern White Admiral is a new arrival. I've never noticed the silvery blue markings this intense before:
reducta St Marcel 30Apr17.JPG

It was seen here:
context St Marcel 30Apr17.JPG

This wasp seemed to be checking out an old nest. I don't know what it was looking for:
Wasp and nest Vallon 01May17 (1).JPG

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
Tony Moore
Posts: 632
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Tony Moore » Mon May 01, 2017 3:40 pm

Re: Wasp.

A wasp had built a similar nest - which appeared to be empty - on the sun curtain of our room in Morocco.
03-DSC08858_edited-1.jpg
.
It was there every day for a week, occasionally roosting on the combs, but no sign of any other activity. It sometimes seemed to have trouble re-locating the nest, especially if the curtain had been moved at all. I thought this odd as you would think that the smell from the nest would be enough.

Tony M.

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1477
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Mon May 01, 2017 5:48 pm

Thanks for the parallel, Tony.
I can imagine a few more scarey and nasty things in Morocco that I would not like to find in my shoes in the morning. :shock:
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: 7151
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby David M » Mon May 01, 2017 8:10 pm

It'd be hard to improve on that Southern White Admiral image, Chris. You've captured that metallic sheen excellently. I'm always struck by how 'alive' the uppersides of this species are compared to camilla. It's a bigger, bolder, more attractive insect for sure and I never tire of seeing it.

Sylvie_h
Posts: 187
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:05 pm
Location: West Glam

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Sylvie_h » Tue May 02, 2017 1:00 pm

Hi Chris,

Excellent observations on the caterpillars. You seem to find them so easily.... what is your trick?
Yes, I have holidays planned for France this year : 2 weeks in the Northern Alps - last week of June and first week of July. In the meantime, with the rather good weather, I enjoy what is around Swansea and Gower.
Looking forward to see more of your observations,
Sylvie

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1477
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Tue May 02, 2017 6:56 pm

Hi David,
That Southern White Admiral photo may be my first and last effort this year, apart from any possible underside shot, or should I find a pair 'in copula'. I'll consider that as my quota for 2017, and move on (already) (crazy hey ?). Things are moving so quickly - I'm already realising that I've missed any chances of seeing a female Provence Orange Tip. The time slot is tight. Western Marbled White should be around soon.

Hi Sylvie,
In April you only need to learn to recognise 4 host plants down here and you are guaranteed to spot some caterpillars. The host plants are Aristoloche pistoloche, Aristoloche rotunda, Biscutella laevigata and Arabis turrita.
I look forward to seeing your summer photos from the Alps.

Last weekend I was honoured to participate in a local wildlife inventory in Vernègues, in the Bouches du Rhône.
This was the picnic in the company of very knowledgeable people:
Picnic CEN PACA Vernègues 29Apr17 (3).JPG

We saw plenty of M. phoebe:
phoebe pair Vernègues 29Apr17 (7).JPG

Orchis purpurea:
Orchis pourpre - Orchis purpurea - Vernègues 29Apr17.JPG

Ophrys lutea:
Ophrys jaune - Ophrys lutea - Vernègues 29Apr17.JPG

Ophrys passionis:
Ophrys de la Passion - Ophrys passionis - Vernègues 29Apr17.JPG

L. megera 'in copula', with that grrrrr. unavoidable twig in the foreground that is so essential in this kind of unforgettable photo :( :
megera pair Vernègues 29Apr17 (2).JPG

P. icarus 'in copula':
icarus1 pair Vernègues 29Apr17 (3).JPG

Cream-spot Tiger:
Ecaille fermière - Epicallia villica - Cream-spot Tiger - Vernègues 29Apr17 (2).JPG

Ecaille fermière - Epicallia villica - Cream-spot Tiger - Vernègues 29Apr17 (1).JPG

A bit of context looking North from Vernègues towards the Luberon:
context1 - Vernègues 29Apr17 (2).JPG

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.

Sylvie_h
Posts: 187
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:05 pm
Location: West Glam

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Sylvie_h » Wed May 03, 2017 3:19 pm

Hi Chris,

Your wasp is a Polistes (paper wasp) and it could be Polistes Dominulus which is the commonest species of paper wasp in Europe (except in the UK where it is very rare).
Sylvie

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1477
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Wed May 03, 2017 5:24 pm

Sylvie_h wrote: .... Your wasp is a Polistes (paper wasp) and it could be Polistes dominulus ...
Sylvie

Thanks Sylvie. Now I can put a name to my photo.
(So can Tony - see further up).
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.

Sylvie_h
Posts: 187
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:05 pm
Location: West Glam

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Sylvie_h » Thu May 04, 2017 7:45 am

Hi Tony,
Good observations on the behaviour of the wasp.
Wasps and solitary bees when building their nest do not use smell to locate it but sight. They inspect the area where the nest is built very carefully and look for landmarks such as stones, vegetation etc and memorise them. When they fly back to the nest, they fly over these landmarks and can locate the nest. So if you moved the curtain, then it was probably a bit disorientated as the nest moved away from the landmarks it had memorised.
Sylvie

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1477
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Tue May 16, 2017 6:08 pm

Hi Folks,
Here are a few recent sightings from central southern France:
Slender Scotch Burnet:
Zygène loti Cuges 15May17 (2).JPG

Yellow-banded Skipper:
sidae Roussargue 15May17 (13).JPG

undersides just about visible (Roger knows this place :D ) (Roussar....):
sidae Roussargue 15May17 (7).JPG

Spanish Festoon eggs on Aristoloche pistoloche (South facing slope below 400 m ASL which means this site is running late) (above Cuges):
rumina - eggs on A. pistoloche Cuges 15May17.JPG

Osiris Blue early in the morning with dew at 650 m ASL:
osiris La Coutronne 14May17 (9).JPG

osiris La Coutronne 14May17 (5).JPG

Black-veined White (late afternoon at 400 m ASL):
crataegi Roussargue 15May17 (2).JPG

This plant is Asphodelus:
asphodèles Plan des Vaches 14May17.JPG

Purple-shot Copper at 850 m ASL:
alciphron1 Plan des Vaches 14May17 (35).JPG

alciphron1 Plan des Vaches 14May17 (24).JPG

This year I seem to be in the right place at the right time for some species.
The sun is already hot down here in the month of May.
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: 1477
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Sat May 20, 2017 6:28 pm

Hi Folks,
20th May, South of France, temperatures in the mid 20s.
Just a very quick local update to tell you that Meadow Brown is flying down here, as is Spanish Gatekeeper.
Here is what I think is the summer form of c-album, f. hutchinsoni :
c-album f. hutchinsoni Parc des Bruyères 20May17 (a).JPG

My first sighting this year of P. bathseba :
bathseba Parc des Bruyères 20May17 (a).JPG

.... stay tuned, I may have a little surprise after tomorrow.
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
Tony Moore
Posts: 632
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Tony Moore » Sat May 20, 2017 9:07 pm

Terrific stuff, Chris.

Wasps and solitary bees when building their nest do not use smell to locate it but sight.

And thanks, Sylvie, for your reply. It perfectly explains a puzzling observation.

Tony M.

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1477
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Tue May 23, 2017 5:10 am

Hi Folks,
We are in the middle of the Clouded Apollo flight period down here in the South. This protected subspecies is in danger of extinction and fortunately the remainder of the colony is in a place with difficult access.
Parnassius mnemosyne cassiensis:
mnemosyne2 ...21May17 (60).JPG

Here is its context:
context.... 21May17 (84).JPG

context.... 21May17 (83).JPG

I also saw my first Turquoise Blue of the year:
dorylus1 Sainte .... 21May17 (12).JPG

And here a pair of Little Blues:
minimus1 pair Sainte B...  21May17 (9).JPG

This plant does not have chlorophyll:
Neottia nidus-avis - Néottie nid d'oiseau - Sainte B... 21May17 (2).JPG

Neottia lives in symbiosis with the fungus Rhizoctonia, and is found in beech forests.

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: 580
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:06 pm
Location: Valbonne, Alpes-Maritimes, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby CFB » Tue May 23, 2017 12:36 pm

Chris,

That's a beautiful photo of a Clouded Apollo.
--
Colin

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1477
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Thu May 25, 2017 5:35 pm

Thanks Colin

Hi Folks,
A small selection of what can be seen today in the South of France.
Exceptionally in my garden today I saw a Queen of Spain Frit. - this is very rare - it must be a vagrant.
lathonia1 Marseille urban 25May17 (4a).JPG

I saw a male and female Provence CHB in my local park:
hispana2 male Parc des Bruyères 25May17 (9a).JPG

hispana1 female Parc des Bruyères 25May17 (15a).JPG

Now is the period for S. esculi (False Ilex Hairstreak):
esculi1 Parc des Bruyères 25May17 (4a).JPG

Silver-studded Blue:
Female
argus3 female Parc des Bruyères 25May17 (2a).JPG

Male
argus1 male Parc des Bruyères 25May17 (1a).JPG

More excitement to follow I hope.
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: 1477
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:26 pm

Hi Folks,
With one thing and another I have little butterfly time this year. However here is a brief view of what is on show this week in the South around Marseilles.
Perhaps the most pertinent - Brintesia circe (emergence is right on time in my sector):
circe1 Parc des Bruyères 03Jun17 (9a).JPG

S. spini:
spini2 Parc des Bruyères 03Jun17 (2a).JPG

S. esculi:
esculi1 Parc des Bruyères 03Jun17 (2a).JPG

C. dorus:
dorus1 Parc des Bruyères 03Jun17 (18a).JPG

P. bathseba (many individuals now looking worn):
bathseba1 male Parc des Bruyères 03Jun17 (6a).JPG

P. argus:
argus4 male Parc des Bruyères 03Jun17 (2a).JPG

can someone comment on this one please - aberrant female with blue scales ?
argus3 female Parc des Bruyères 03Jun17 (7a).JPG

Female P. argus on Sainfoin:
argus2 female Parc des Bruyères 03Jun17 (34a).JPG

C. argiolus - female:
argiolus1 female Parc des Bruyères 03Jun17 (1a).JPG

A bientôt,
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: 1477
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Marseilles South of France 2017

Postby Chris Jackson » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:04 pm

Hi Folks,
A public holiday in France today (same in Blighty I believe).
In the extreme west of the Var, I managed to get some quality butterfly time today (short but with results).
One life tick and one year tick.
Life tick => Twin-spot Fritillary :D :
(a devil to photograph - maximum patience required)
hecate4 Hostellerie St Baume 05Jun17 (4a).JPG

hecate2 Hostellerie St Baume 05Jun17 (30a).JPG

Year tick => Niobe Fritillary:
niobe2 Hostellerie St Baume 05Jun17 (a).JPG

niobe1 Hostellerie St Baume 05Jun17 (4a).JPG

Mazarine Blue (not Osiris - thanks Guy for the correction) male uppers and unders :
osiris1 male Hostellerie St Baume 05Jun17 (38a).JPG

osiris1 male Hostellerie St Baume 05Jun17 (2a).JPG

What a nice day. If every day could be the same.
Work tomorrow :(
Chris
Last edited by Chris Jackson on Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:34 pm, edited 1 time 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.


Return to “Overseas”

Who is online

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