The earlier pictures were taken on my wee compact Canon ixus 970IS, which involved sneaking up on the butterflies. This can be very frustrating when they fly off, but very rewarding when they don't!

Since 2012 I have been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ150, which allows me to zoom in to the butterflies from a couple of metres away.



Sunday, 1 October 2017

Corfu Butterflies - June 2017

This year's family summer holiday was to the Greek island of Corfu. A fantastic place for a holiday with lovely scenery, warm sea and the most friendly, generous people I have ever met. My parents holidayed there in the 1970s and came back with stories about how lovely the people were there and it seems they still are!!

We rented a villa in an olive grove at the north east of the island, above Nisaki. It was built on a steep slope, so there were two stories with the swimming pool build into the hillside at roof level. I thought this would provide a great vantage point for seeing butterflies, but compared with other areas on the island there were not that many there.

I am not quite sure where to start with the butterflies, so here is a summary of what I saw at the villa and in the surrounding area.

We arrived at our villa at about 6pm and I was delighted to see a number of butterflies flying around a small cherry tree by the front door. There was a pair of Large Wall Browns, Lasiommata maera ...

... four or five Great Banded Graylings, Brintesia circe ...

... two Speckled Woods, Pararge aegeria ...

... a Lattice Brown, Kirinia roxelana ...

... and about ten Eastern Rock Graylings, Hipparchia syriaca.

The following day these butterflies were still there, feeding on the over-ripe and fallen fruit and flying up in a cloud each time we walked past. Over the course of the day I also saw a Small White, Pieris rapae, Cleopatra, Gonepteryx cleopatra, Swallowtail, Papilio machaon, Scarce Swallowtail, Iphiclides podalirius, Balkan Marbled White, Melanargia larissa, and a Silver-washed Fritillary, Argynnis paphia, flying past the villa, but none of them stopped.

There was a wisteria plant growing at the front of the villa and this attracted Mallow Skippers, Carcharodus alceae, Long-tailed Blues, Lampides boeticus, and a Lang's Short-tailed Blue, Leptotes pirithous.

However, by the fourth day the usual five species disappeared from around the cherry tree. I suspect that the housekeeper had sprayed around the tree to kill the ants, as there was still plenty of fruit around.

The butterflies continued to fly past the villa, but rarely settled. Half way through our holiday I was thrilled to see a Spotted Fritillary, Melitaea didyma, fly past the villa and land briefly on a bay tree. I was frustrated that it didn't stay long enough for a photo, though! However, on our last day a Spotted Fritillary landed near the villa and started laying eggs on a dried up plantain plant.

I had read that the olive groves in Corfu are sprayed against disease, which has had a bad impact on wildlife that would otherwise occur there. I guess that the olive trees around the villa had been sprayed. Elsewhere on the island there were loads of butterflies, which I will write about in my next posts.


4 comments:

  1. Your trip sounds wonderful. So glad you saw butterflies. It is horrible to think of pest spray around them. I understand why autumn is not that exciting to you. I enjoy most seasons. Here I think the beginning of spring is my least favorite. Muddy and wet with barely evidence of growth.

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    1. Thanks Tammie Lee. I think I don't really mind any time of year if it is dry! It is the wet weather that I least like. Yes, the butterflies were wonderful on Corfu in the more rural areas.

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  2. Breathtaking! Does it compare to Spain with the variety in butterflies?

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  3. Hi Maria,
    I think around 60 species of butterflies occur on Corfu, whereas Southern Spain has about 300 species. The difference, though, is that Corfu remains green in the summer and Spain is parched. So, in Spain you really have to search for butterflies, but they are abundant in Corfu almost everywhere except in the olive groves.

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