Tuesday 25 July 2023

Dolomites Part Two.

Part one I focussed mainly on the brown species of butterfly, these can be prolific in the high mountains, however, some more colourful ones are also to be seen. These can include different sub-species to the lower altitude butterflies.

The most common of the 'blue' species was the Mazarine Blue. This was actually once a UK species, but has been extinct in the UK since around the 1870s. Almost every site we went to held some Mazarine Blue across the Dolomites.

Male Mazarine Blue.

Female Mazarine Blue.

Mating Mazarine Blues.

Another speciality of the high mountains is the Alpine Blue. We saw more of these this year and I also spotted a female egg laying.

Male Alpine Blue.

Female Alpine Blue egg laying.

My favourite blue from the trip though was a sublime male Amanda's Blue, that posed so well and allowed myself and Helen a few superb opportunities.

Male Amanda's Blue.

We did stop at one point hoping for a sighting of Geranium Argus. We were just about to give up when one arrived to do some egg laying!!

Geranium Argus egg laying.

At one of the highest points I came across this blue that was notably larger. Although it is almost certainly a Large Blue, there is a possibility that it could be a Mountain Alcon Blue. Unfortunately, we didn't manage any shots of the top wings which would have confirmed it one way or the other.

Probable Large Blue.

Only 2 Copper species were seen, the Scarce Copper and the Sooty Copper. The Sooty Copper is also a sub-species in the high mountains.

Sooty Copper.

We did see several species of Fritillary, however, I didn't manage myself to photograph many of them, although I did get a short session with a lovely Marsh Fritillary, the mountain sub-species of Marsh Fritillary, and also I found the 2 Thor's Fritillary that we were lucky to see. This is one of the rarer Fritillary species. After the initial sighting, I returned to the spot just before we left the site and managed to see a 2nd individual. This one was in better condition than the first, although it was still far from fresh.

Marsh Fritillary.

Thor's Fritillary.

We were very lucky to see some Alpine Accentor, White-winged Snowfinch and Alpine Chough. The Chough was quite tame and I took this photo with the macro lens!!

Alpine Chough.

On the final day, on the return trip to the airport we stopped off on the last really high point before Venice and saw many different species including a few Apollo. All were a little past their best, but were wonderful to see. We also saw on the way up and down the mountain Woodland Grayling and Great Sooty Satyr. A Golden Eagle being mobbed by Honey Buzzards was also an epic sighting.


Golden Eagle.

Honey Buzzard.

Almost the final butterfly we saw here was a wonderful Southern White Admiral. An absolutely gorgeous butterfly.

Southern White Admiral.

So that was another wonderful trip to the Dolomites. Fabulous scenery and some very winding roads that the cycling fanatics were enjoying (possibly). A great Hotel with some of the best food too.

Two different views of the hotel.

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