German Eifel, 2022


Kars Klein Wolterink

6/6/20221 min read

During this years ascension day weekend I took an extra day off to spend some time in the German Eifel. Main targets included several butterfly species that are hard to find, if not impossible in the Netherlands. Despite pretty thorough planning the weather didn't cooperate, causing butterfly numbers to be very low, thanks to low temperatures and small amounts of rainfall. This did mean that any butterflies that we did find would be pretty slow, allowing for pretty good photography outside of evening and early morning hours.

Before heading deep into the Eifel we stopped at a stone quarry with several ponds, where we managed to find yellow-bellied toads (Bombina variegata) which was a lovely addition to the species list. After taking some pictures of this species, we headed towards our destination, and spent the evening looking for sleeping butterflies. Bog fritillaries (Boloria eunomia) were one of my main targets and we managed to find 3 individuals on the first day. The second day was the only day with decent weather for butterflies, and the numbers were incredible, species included over 500 individuals of small blue (Cupido minimus), a single heath fritallary (Melitaea athalia) and the only sighting of black-veined white (Aporia crataegi) of the trip. These last ones a copulating pair.

Aside from butterflies the landscape was lovely and littered with several orchid species, including, but not limited to Ophrys insectifera, Cephalanthera damasonium and Neotinea ustulata. With a bit of effort several more butterfly species were found, while numbers did remain fairly low. During a bit of rain I tried looking for fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) but sadly only found larvae. An evning search for this species returend similar results. All in all, i managed to get satisfactory pictures of most targets and will definitely return, considering the short distance to this beautiful, quiet location.