Ariège is well known for its butterflies, and living here, up at 500 metres in the woods, we seem to get more than our fair share. To be honest, I wish I was better at identifying them - I know of people who are perfectly well able to point at something 50 metres away and name it as a Small Pink-Spotted One-Legged Maui Dancer Thrice Removed, but I'm not (yet) one of them. Having said that, I've got to know the more common (in Ariège terms, that is) ones over the last couple of years. What follows is a quick-and-dirty list of the ones I've seen flying around Grillou over the last 48 hours, partly so that I can show off my new found skills, but mostly so that (shameless plug number 73/10) you can see just how rich nature is here in our little woodland clearing:
Scarce Swallowtail, Swallowtail, Marbled White, Clouded Yellow, Purple Emperor, Common Blue, Purple Hairstreak, Holly Blue, Brown Argus, Red Admiral, White Admiral, various Ringlets, various Fritillaries, various Skippers, Peacock, Black-Veined White, Small White, Large White, Orange Tip, Brimstone, Cleopatra, Wood White, Small Copper, Common Blue, Chalk Hill Blue, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Large Tortoiseshell, various Graylings ... plus various others so far unidentifiable.
This is the Scarce Swallowtail, one of my favourites:
And this: not a butterfly, and not a hummingbird (though it sounds like one) ...
It's a Humming Bird Hawk Moth, with the coolest proboscis on the planet.
And while I'm at it, I can't resist this picture of the only bird I know that speaks its name: the upupa epops (hoopoe). This one has taken up residence just down our track, from where it spends its day yelling 'oop-oop-oop' (or 'poo-poo-poo' as my French bird book would have it) at anyone who'll listen ... and it's hard not to. Just recently it's taken to walking in front of my car as I come home from work, and after we've travelled the requisite 100 metres together it always flies up to the same branch to let me pass ...
Aren't they just ridiculously wonderful?