Alpine Flowers from the Vanoise National Park

As a final drop of photos from my August trip to France: this time some of the alpine flowers from the Vanoise National Park, mostly from high up in the French Alps above Courchevel. Supporting the profusion of butterflies & insects and the nibbling of the local marmots, there is an even greater profusion of wild-flowers, especially on the upper pastures. Most of these examples are alpine plants taken on a hike up to the Lacs Merlet, though the Helleborine and Willow Gentian were photographed on the wild-flower trail at Lac de la Rosière just outside Courchevel.

Fantastic Bugs

More photos from our French trip. It’s always amazes me to see the number of grasshoppers and crickets that you get in the South of France. Here are some really of the larger and more impressive ones I managed to photograph in the French Alps. There’s a lot of species and I didn’t identify them all yet, but they are all beautiful - especially the Small Alpine Bush Cricket on the left.

This beautifully marked Wasp Spider is also amazing; apparently you do get them in the South of England, but I’ve never seen one in UK myself. The dragonfly is a Continental species as well - a Small Pincertail - not sure what the pincers on the tail are for, but this one was easy to photograph sunning itself by the riverside. Finally, with its iridescent blue wings, a not-very-healthy-looking Carpenter Bee found in the Cevennes. These exotic looking solitary bees, one of two similar-looking species found in France, make their nest cavities by boring into dead wood,

French Butterflies

Rather “off-patch”, but here are some of many butterflies I saw during our August road-trip around France.

Fritillaries were very plentiful, especially Silver-washed Fritillaries, which were present in numbers right through the Auvergne. I took nice pictures of these Knapweed Fritillaries in the Gorges du Tarn in Southern France; also the Scotch Argus and Jersey Tiger Moths there in the riverside vegetation.

In the French Alps I was very happy to find this Apollo butterfly, seen above Courchevel in the Vanoise National Park. The flower-rich Alpine meadows were full of butterflies and moths, including also Mountain Fritillary.