As our flight home wasn't till late afternoon, we spent the morning on the Saugue plateau above Gedre and were lucky to find several species of butterfly including the Niobe Fritillary, Scarce Copper and Blue-spot Fritillary. I also spent some time photographing an impressive pink Crab Spider and various bugs and beetles. On the way back, stopped on the river bed (Gabe de Pau) and were rewarded with the Great Banded Grayling (I was intrigued by a leaf hopper showing convergent camouflage for the bright dappled light). The journey home was not good with long delays at check-in etc and then a 1 hour wait on the tarmac at Lourdes and 1 hour of stacking at Stansted while President Trump was escorted out of Stansted Airport en route to Glasgow.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Thursday was the only day where rain somewhat interrupted our activities. After a long drive along a very rocky track, we arrived at the top of the Ossoue Valley and set off to look at the orchid meadow and search for butterflies. Just as we arrived a thunderstorm broke and we retreated to the van. The White asphodel (Asphodel albus) dominated the landscape. Luckily, it cleared in time for our picnic and an afternoon in the valley. My favourite finds were a Small Spreadwing damsefly and a Bagworm Moth (Psychidae) caterpillar.
Monday, July 16, 2018
On a hot sunny morning, we walked along a spectacular path to the border with Spain. Port de Boucharo is a high mountain pass, in the Pyrénées, between the border of France and Spain, at an elevation of 2.270m (7,447ft). We had constant company from Griffin Vultures - at one stage there were more than 20 in the air. Great to see some true 'alpines - the Gentian and Mountain Buttercup and one endemic reptile the Pyrenean Rock Lizard.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
The Cirque de Garvarnie is one of the most well-known walks in the area and, certainly, there were too many people on the main track for my liking but I quickly found some side tracks and spent a very pleasant day in solitude photographing flowers and insects plus the beautiful scenery. If you are not able to tackle the walk, you can take a donkey or pony ride up the mountains - they looked quite tired after a trip.
Our final stop on Monday was in the Heas Valley where the sun came out and the insects all started waking up and showing themselves including lots of Black-Veined Whites. (Other species shown Pearly Heath, Yellow-Veined Darter, Scorpion fly, Bee chafer, Rose Chafer, Grasshopper ?species, Long Horned Beetle