TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
26th June - 2nd July 2004
Saturday 26th June Arrival
Sunny & hot, some cloud, <28°C
We all duly met at check-in at 4am for our early flight, and were in the vehicle and navigating our way away from Toulouse Blagnac Airport by 9:45 local time. Our count of raptors en route totalled 81 Black Kites and only 16 Common Buzzards. As we turned south past Tarbes and started climbing, a few Red Kites appeared. With a comfort stop at the Aires des Comminges and then a longer stop for an early lunch at Aires du Pic du Midi, we managed to find good numbers of Marbled White butterflies, a few Beautiful Demoiselles and a lovely Lesser Purple Emperor. We pottered on, stopping briefly at a supermarket (wine and water) and reached our hotel soon after 2pm.
Having gathered on the terrace for a much-needed beer, we walked up to the old castle. Griffon Vultures, Kites, Buzzards and Kestrels were all seen overhead, often at great height in the very hot conditions. Small Skipper, Comma, Speckled Wood, Marbled Whites, Black-veined Whites, Clouded Yellows (some females were very pale, almost white), Brown Argus, Common Blue, Swallowtail and a wide variety of Meadow Browns all vied for our attention as we walked through the lovely hay meadow behind the castle. More frustrating were two species of fritillaries which just would not sit still and defied identification. We returned down the road and had an hour or so before gathering again on the terrace for pre-dinner drinks.
Sunday 27th June Pic des Tantes & Gave d'Ossoue
Misty at dawn, clearing to hot and sunny all day
We all gathered for an 8am breakfast and were heading south towards Gavarnie by 9. We stopped first of all at a bridge over the river and found the first of many Fragrant Orchids. A little further on, just before Gèdre, an eagle circling overhead made us pull in. A Short-toed Eagle was a nice surprise this high, then a second individual appeared a few hundred metres further on. As we were leaving Gavarnie, we passed a grassy roadside bank which was a mass of Fragrant Orchids. We stopped here and found ourselves with a bewildering array of butterflies. There was also a single Greater Butterfly Orchid and the first of several Ravens flew over. We spent ages here but eventually just had to press on. We climbed steadily, stopping periodically to get out and explore the slopes and roadsides. Tree Pipits were found amongst the trees on the lower slopes, these being replaced by very smart Water Pipits on the higher treeless slopes. Several Northern Wheatears were on territory and we saw just how aggressive the males were towards any Water Pipit which ventured too close. Near the restaurant buildings at the bottom of the ski lifts, we found a stunning pair of Rock Thrushes feeding newly fledged juveniles and a pair of Black Redstarts also seemingly feeding young. A single Red-billed Chough flew past, and we began to see pairs and small groups of Alpine Choughs. The car park below the Pic des Tantes was very full with many walkers on the mountain paths, so we returned back downhill a short way. A possible Alpine Accentor flew across the road right in front of us but no-one really got a decent view. The bird could not be relocated despite searching the slope above us. Alpine Buttercups covered the grassy slope, and there were still Alpine Snowbells in flower in the wetter, cooler areas.
We had our picnic lunch in the shelter of a low embankment with a wonderful vista before us. Spring Gentians were found a few yards further on and the group wandered slowly downhill as I leapfrogged the vehicle ahead of them. Two nice Alpine Choughs were searching the grass below us. Quite remarkable was the complete absence of raptors, presumably too hot. Near the bottom of the 'hill', we pulled in and found many butterflies gathering in the damp roadside ditch. These included Small & Mazarine Blues, Bright-eyed & Piedmont Ringlets and Red Underwing Skippers amongst others. We eventually turned into the Ossoue valley, but didn't get very far! Several nice Broomrapes near the road encouraged us to pull in, only to find a stunning Burnt Orchid on the slope just below us. A few Griffons and a Raven flew along the mountain top above us, but again birds were few and far between. It was well past mid-afternoon and we decided that ice-creams were needed so we returned to Gavarnie; thence back downhill to the hotel around 5pm for a cold beer (or two!) and to ponder over our butterfly photographs.
Monday 28th June Cauterets, Ayzac-Ost & Vizos
Overcast & low cloud.
The day started and ended enveloped in a fine 'mizzle'. The cloud lifted slightly after breakfast, we had good views of Firecrests in the conifers outside the hotel and then we headed for Pont d'Espagne, hoping the cloud would continue to lift. This was not to be and we abandoned any thoughts of walking from there. We tried a short walk from just above Cauterets, viewing the Cascade de Lutour, but promptly climbed again into the cloud. Coffee beckoned as we returned! We then drove further north and into some semblence of clear weather near Ayzac-Ost, though the cloud was still masking the tops. However, we immediately found a number of Griffons and Black Kites in the air, and three adult Egyptian Vultures joined them, patrolling back and forth along the slope. A brown immature Egyptian Vulture was also seen, and at least one pair of Ravens. The weather brightened briefly and during a short walk we found a number of Pearly Heath butterflies as well as many Marbled Whites. A male Cirl Bunting posed nicely and as we had our picnic lunch, a Short-toed Eagle hovered quite low in front of us. We walked further on during the afternoon, finding two Ilex Hairstreaks amongst the rather few butterflies. Two juvenile Peregrines appeared overhead and an adult a little later.
We headed back to the vehicle and started our return journey, detouring back via Salles and Sere-en-Lavedan. Near the latter village, we stopped to listen to a Cirl Bunting singing and found a male Red-backed Shrike, various Serins, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker sitting out in full view. There were a couple of sightings of Hobby overhead. We then headed back to Luz and took the vehicle up the hill to the next village, Vizos. Walking on beyond, we came across a pair of Rock Buntings with food for young - in what appeared to be quite unsuitable habitat (but then I am not a Rock Bunting!). A Green Woodpecker posed nicely on a dead tree, and this showed a remarkably grey face (prompting much discussion) but the Iberian race does lack the black face we are used to seeing, and the bird did have a red forehead, crown and nape. We returned for coffee on the terrace, and watched Black Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel and two Peregrines overhead. Both Serin and Firecrest also appeared in the conifers just across the road.
Tuesday 29th June Col de Tourmalet & Foret du Lienz
Very hot, <35°C !
Rather damp first thing but the cloud quickly began to disperse. After breakfast, we headed for the Col de Tourmalet, driving into thick cloud above Barèges. Just before reaching the Col, we left the cloud below us and the temperature rose steadily throughout the day. We started our walk up the slope from the car park, quickly finding several Snowfinches feeding juveniles around the ski-pylons. At one point, three birds came within a few feet of us - forget the telescopes and point the camera between the tripod legs! We climbed slowly upwards, passing Water Pipits and Wheatears.
Looking up, we were sure we could see Llamas on the skyline, and sure enough, a small herd welcomed us at the ridge. We immediately found Alpine Accentors, a male coming to investigate us several times and a female collecting food for young. Butterflies included Queen of Spain Fritillary, Green Hairstreak, Red Admirals, various Clouded Yellows, and several individuals which were probably Clouded Apollos but which we never truly identified at the time. A Griffon Vulture circled below us. We slowly continued upwards towards the ski-lift summit, with views across to the Observatoire at the Pic du Midi. Returning downhill, we shared our picnics with three donkeys and then headed downhill in the vehicle towards Barèges. A call of 'Orchids on the left!' halted us near the Jardin Botanique and we were more excited with the butterflies here than the orchids! Grizzled, Dingy & Marbled Skippers, Duke of Burgundy Fritillary and a mating pair of Brown Skippers were all photographed. We broke for coffee and cold drinks at the cafe at Le Lienz, the forest above Barèges. We explored a little way along the forest trails and rides, finding Spotted Flycatchers, some very dark Coal Tits and an unidentified Treecreeper. Two Buzzards and a further Griffon passed overhead; then back to the hotel for cooling showers and beers, though not necessarily in that order!
Wednesday 30th June Cirque de Gavarnie
Cloudless, very hot, <35°C
We took the vehicle back to Vizos early this morning, attempting to find the Rock Buntings again. It was bad luck that the verges and banks were being strimmed in exactly the place where we hoped to find them! We therefore started to walk back towards Luz, finding several Green Woodpeckers and seeing a Heron fly up the valley to land beside the river below us.
We headed back for breakfast, then on to Gavarnie. Walking slowly towards the Cirque, we were continually distracted by butterflies and photographs. There were large numbers of butterflies attracted by an area of damp horse dung beside the stream, and we spent ages here photographing and identifying - mainly Little and Silver-studded Blues, but also Mazarine Blue, Marbled & Red Underwing Skippers, Swallowtail, and Meadow, Heath & False Heath Fritillaries. We stopped short of the final climb to the Cirque itself, quite content to rest in the shade of the trees and have lunch. One intrepid member did walk on into the Cirque and returned to find us still sat under the trees. A Crested Tit had passed from tree to tree in front of us, and a number of Alpine Choughs were circling the peaks, but little else. We returned, passing the wet dung again, then found yet another 'lick' where there was a damp area on a side track. This time, Black-veined Whites were in abundance, but we also photographed and identified a stunning male Turquoise Blue. Orchids were not to be outdone, with masses of Spotted, Marsh and Butterfly Orchids alongside the track, together with several Burnt Orchids at one spot.
After cold drinks at the first cafe we found on returning to Gavarnie, we spent the remaining hour further exploring the Oussoue valley. Birds here were again rather few, with only Red-billed Choughs and Crag Martins seen. Butterflies though continued to impress, particularly when Clouded Apollo flew past on two occasions. We also found Sooty Copper and, as we left in the vehicle, an Apollo landed briefly on a flower head beside us but quickly flew off. We headed back to the hotel after a very hot and exhausting day which provided a number of new butterfly species for all of us (and I'm sure more to come once we have sifted through our photographs!)
Thursday 1st July Lac de Gloriette, Cirque de Troumouse & Gave d'Ossoue
Mainly cloudy, c.17°C
We again tried beyond Vizos before breakfast but we were again thwarted, this time low cloud spilling up the valley from below us! We therefore tried driving down below Luz to check out the river. Still no Dippers!
After breakfast, we headed for Troumouse, gradually climbing towards the low cloud. Turning off to check out the Lac de Gloriette, we ascended into the cloud, making visibility less than 50m at times. However, we explored both sides of the dam, finding various plants and sleeping butterflies. Of note, these included Black Vanilla and Small White Orchids, Common Twayblade and Elder-flowered Orchid, this latter species unfortunately had gone over and were in seed. The cool conditions made butterfly photography a dream, with the camera often within a few centimetres of the subject. With the cloud beginning to disperse, we returned to the vehicle and climbed steadily upwards towards the Cirque itself - straight into more thick cloud. A brief stop at the cafe and then lunch beside the stream - still in cloud! Our final push for the summit, and we could actually see mountain peaks, very briefly. Trumpet Gentians looked excellent, but with visibility very erratic and often very poor, we decided to return downhill to try to keep under the cloud base. We explored the riverbank near the péage, finding further excellent butterflies. Apart from Wheatears, Water Pipits and Black Redstarts, where are all the birds??
Our final location was back in the Ossoue valley, this time heading further along the valley. Common Quail calling from the hillside was a complete surprise! The masses of Broad-leaved Marsh Orchids, amongst others, were not.
Friday 2nd July Hautacam & departure
Mainly warm & sunny
We bade farewell to the Hotel Montaigu after breakfast and made our way up to the summit of the Hautacam. A pair of Red-backed Shrikes was in the juniper scrub, and various Black Redstarts, Yellowhammers and Skylarks were also seen. Several Griffon Vultures were circling the peak, but as the low cloud billowed up from below, the time came to make our way onward to Toulouse. We made steady progress along the autoroute, though relatively few raptors were counted. We made a brief stop for restrooms, then another for lunch, where Sand Martin and Stonechat were seen for the first time, and arrived at the airport with time to spare, for check in and our departure for home.
The various species lists below use the following references:
Birds: We use the suggested worldwide English names and systematic order as found in World Bird Species Checklist: with alternate English & scientific names (Wells, M.G., 1998). Commonly used alternates are enclosed in [ ] or separated by / .
Collins Bird Guide (Svensson, L. & Grant, P.J., 1999)
Butterflies: Collins Field Guide: Butterflies of Britain & Europe (Tolman, T. & Lewington, R., 1997)
Mammals: We use the suggested worldwide English names and systematic order as found in Mammals of the World, A Checklist (Duff, A. & Lawson, A., 2004)
Collins Field Guide: Mammals of Britain & Europe (Macdonald, D. & Barrett, P., 1993)
Plants: Collins Pocket Guide: Alpine Flowers of Britain & Europe (Grey-Wilson, C., & Blamey, M., 1995)
Grey Heron: Noted on 2 days with 1 en route on 26th, 1 Luz on 30th.
Cattle Egret: Four seen en route on 2nd.
Black Kite: Noted each day with one bird regularly seen from the hotel, also 81 on 26th, c30 on 28th, & 41 en route on 2nd.
Red Kite: Noted on 3 days with 4 on 26th, at least 2 on 28th, 1 near Lourdes on 2nd.
[Eurasian] Griffon Vulture: Noted on 5 days with at least 2 on 26th, several on 27th, c15 on 28th, several on 29th, at least 3 Hautacam on 2nd.
Egyptian Vulture: Three adults & a juvenile on 28th.
Short-toed Eagle: Noted on 2 days with two north of Gèdre on 27th, 1 on 28th.
Common Buzzard: Noted most days; 16 on 26th, 3 on 28th, 2 on 29th, 1 on 30th, 2 on 1st, 17 en route on 2nd.
Booted Eagle: Two on 28th.
Common/Eurasian Kestrel: Noted most days with at least 20 on 26th.
Eurasian Hobby: Noted on 2 days with 3 on 26th, 2 on 28th.
Peregrine Falcon: An adult & 2 juveniles over Ayzac-Ost & 2 over Luz on 28th.
Common Quail: Heard calling halfway up the slope, Gave d'Ossoue, on 1st.
Yellow-legged Gull: Several on 26th.
Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: Noted each day.
[Common] Wood Pigeon: 1 en route on 2nd.
Eurasian Collared Dove: Noted each day.
Common Swift: Noted each day.
Eurasian Hoopoe: 1 flew across the autoroute in front of the vehicle near Toulouse on 2nd, but was seen by the leader only! (Good job he wasn't snoozing!)
Great Spotted Woodpecker: Noted only on 28th.
Green Woodpecker: Noted on 4 days, usually near the hotel.
[Eurasian/Common] Sky Lark: Noted on 2 days with singing birds at Tourmalet & Barèges on 29th and Hautacam on 2nd.
Sand Martin / Bank Swallow: Several en route on 2nd.
[Eurasian] Crag Martin: Noted each day with at least 6 on 26th, 1 Luz on 27th, several each day on 28th - 30th, singles on 1st & 2nd.
Barn Swallow: Noted each day.
Grey Wagtail: Noted most days with ones or twos.
White Wagtail: Noted each day.
Meadow Pipit: Noted only on 1st.
Tree Pipit: Noted on 4 days, usually heard singing.
Water Pipit: Noted on 3 days with many on high slopes on 27th, 29th, & 1st.
Red-backed Shrike: Noted on 4 days with a male on 28th, a male near Barèges on 29th, a family group at Gave d'Ossoue on 1st, and a pair at Hautacam on 2nd.
[Winter] Wren: Noted on 3 days, heard calling or singing.
Alpine Accentor: Excellent views of at least 3 at Tourmalet on 29th.
Dunnock / Hedge Accentor: Several seen on 1st.
[Rufous-tailed] Rock Thrush: Noted on 2 days with a pair with a juvenile on 27th, 1 at Tourmalet on 29th.
Common Blackbird: Noted each day.
Song Thrush: Noted each day.
Mistle Thrush: Noted on 5 days.
European Robin: Noted each day.
Black Redstart: Noted each day.
Common Stonechat: Noted on 2 days, heard calling on 30th, a male at Aire de Garonne on 2nd.
Northern Wheatear: Noted on 4 days with many pairs on 27th, 29th, 1st, & 2nd.
Common/Eurasian Chiffchaff: Noted on 4 days, heard singing on 26th & 28th - 30th.
Blackcap: Noted each day.
Garden Warbler: Noted on 3 days, 26th, 27th, & 30th.
Firecrest: Noted each day, usually right outside the hotel.
Goldcrest: 1 above Luz on 30th.
Spotted Flycatcher: 2 near Barèges on 29th.
Long-tailed Tit: A small party was heard calling on 28th.
Coal Tit: Noted on 3 days, 27th, 29th, & 30th.
Crested Tit: Excellent views of 1 on 30th.
Great Tit: Noted most days.
Blue Tit: Noted on 3 days.
Eurasian Nuthatch: Noted on 2 days, 29th & 30th.
Eurasian Jay: Noted each day.
Black-billed/Eurasian Magpie: Noted most days.
Red-billed Chough: Noted on 4 days with one on 27th, then several each day on 29th - 1st.
Yellow-billed/Alpine Chough: Noted on 3 days with at least 12 on 27th, c12 on 29th, at least 10 on 30th.
Carrion Crow: Noted each day.
Common Raven: Noted on 3 days, usually pairs, on 27th, 28th & 1st.
Common Starling: Noted on 3 days, on 26th, 28th, & 2nd.
Yellowhammer: Noted on 4 days with a male on 27th, then 30th, 1st, & 2nd.
Rock Bunting: A pair collecting food for young at Vizos on 28th.
Cirl Bunting: Noted on 2 days, 26th, & 28th.
Common/European Chaffinch: Noted each day.
European Serin: Noted each day.
European Greenfinch: Noted on 3 days.
European Goldfinch: Noted each day.
Common Linnet: Noted on 2 days.
Common/Red Crossbill: One briefly on 1st.
Common/Eurasian Bullfinch: One at Gloriette on 1st.
House Sparrow: Noted each day.
[White-winged] Snowfinch: Really excellent views of at least 10 at Tourmalet on 29th.
Western Hedgehog: Road casualties noted on 3 days.
Alpine Marmot: Noted on 4 days, 27th & 29th - 1st.
European Rabbit: One dead on road on 2nd.
AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES:
Common Frog: Noted on 2 days, at Jardin Botanique on 29th and Gloriette on 1st, were presumed this species.
Common Wall Lizard: Noted on 2 days, on 26th & 27th, were presumed this species.
BUTTERFLIES & other insects:
Swallowtail: Noted most days.
Apollo: At least 1 on 30th.
Clouded Apollo: At least 3 on 30th.
Black-veined White: Noted on 5 days.
Large White: Noted most days.
Small White: Noted on 5 days.
Green-veined White: One on 30th.
Orange-tip: Noted on 3 days.
Clouded Yellow: Noted each day.
Brimstone: Noted on 5 days.
Wood White: Noted on 2 days, on 29th & 30th.
Ilex Hairstreak: Two rather briefly on 28th.
Green Hairstreak: Noted on 2 days with 1 at Tourmalet on 29th, several then on 30th.
Small Copper: Noted on 2 days, on 26th & 2nd.
Sooty Copper: Noted on 2 days, 30th & 1st.
Provençal Short-tailed Blue: Noted on 27th.
Small Blue / Little Blue: Noted on 4 days.
Osiris Blue: Noted on 30th.
Silver-studded Blue: Noted most days with many on 30th & 1st.
Brown Argus: Noted most days.
Mountain Argus: One photographed on 1st is possibly this species.
Mazarine Blue: Noted on 4 days.
Amanda's Blue: One photographed on 29th.
Turquoise Blue: A lovely male at a 'damp lick' near Gavarnie on 30th.
Chalkhill Blue: One photographed on 1st.
Adonis Blue: Photographed on 30th.
Common Blue: Noted most days.
Duke of Burgundy Fritillary: At least 2 at Jardin Botanique on 29th.
Lesser Purple Emperor: Noted on 2 days with 1 at Aires du Pic du Midi on 26th, 2 on 30th.
Large Tortoiseshell: At least 1 seen briefly on 27th.
Red Admiral: Two at Tourmalet on 29th.
Painted Lady: Noted on 5 days, including caterpillars at Troumouse on 1st.
Small Tortoiseshell: Noted on 3 days, including caterpillars at Troumouse on 1st.
Comma: Noted on 5 days.
Queen of Spain Fritillary: Noted on 2 days, on 29th & 30th.
False Heath Fritillary: This, and the following species, noted on several days.
Heath Fritillary: This, and the above species, noted on several days.
Meadow Fritillary: Noted on 3 days.
Marbled White: Noted on 2 days.
Lefèbvre's Ringlet: Noted on 3 days, on 27th, at Gavarnie on 30th, Gloriette on 1st.
Piedmont Ringlet: Noted on 3 days with many on 27th, several also on 29th & 30th.
Bright-eyed Ringlet: Noted and photographed on 2 days, 27th & 1st.
Meadow Brown: Noted on 3 days.
Small Heath: Noted on 4 days.
Pearly Heath: Noted on 2 days, on 28th & 30th.
Speckled Wood: Noted on 2 days.
Wall Brown: Noted on 2 days.
Large Wall Brown: Noted only on 27th.
Grizzled Skipper: Noted on 3 days.
Oberthur's / Large Grizzled Skipper: Noted on 2 days, on 30th & 1st but could be either of these species.
Olive Skipper: Photographed on 1st.
Red Underwing Skipper: Several on 27th & 30th.
Marbled Skipper: Noted on 3 days.
Dingy Skipper: Noted at Jardin Botanique on 29th.
Small Skipper: Noted on 4 days.
Large Skipper: Noted on 4 days.
Black-veined Moth: Noted on 1st.
Hummingbird Hawkmoth: Noted on 3 days with one inspecting Spring Gentians on 27th, 1 on 28th, several at Tourmalet on 29th.
Small Elephant Hawkmoth: One found at Troumouse on 1st.
Silver Y: At least 1 on 28th.
The Passenger: Noted on 2 days.
Beautiful Demoiselle: Noted on 2 days.
Golden-ringed Dragonfly: One seen near Barèges on 29th.
[Nos. on right refer to Alpine Flowers of Britain & Europe, Grey-Wilson & Blamey, 1995]
Ragged Robin Lychnis flos-jovis 34.8
Nottingham Catchfly Silene nutans 36.2
Bladder Campion Silene vulgaris 36.6
Alpine Gypsophila Gypsophila repens 38.1
Green Hellebore Helleborus viridis 54.2
Kingcup / Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris 56.3
Hepatica Hepatica nobilis 60.6
Alpine Buttercup Ranunculus alpestris 66.5
Common Columbine Aquilegia vulgaris 70.4
Pyrenean Columbine Aquilegia pyrenaica 70.8
Greater Celandine Chelidonium majus 74.7
Welsh Poppy Meconopsis cambrica 74.8
Common Houseleek Sempervivum tectorum 96.9
Rock/Reflexed Stonecrop Sedum rupestre (= S.reflexum) 98.5
Biting Stonecrop Sedum acre 98.6
White Stonecrop Sedum album 98.7
Paniculate Saxifrage Saxifraga paniculata 116.1
Pyrenean Saxifrage Saxifraga longifolia 116.3
False Vetch Astragalus monspessulanus 144.1
Alpine Clover Trifolium alpinum 152.1
Mountain Kidney-vetch Anthyllis montana 154.4
Ashy Cranesbill Geranium cinereum 158.2
Bloody Cranesbill Geranium sanguineum 158.3
Knotted Cranesbill Geranium nodosum 158.7
Dusky Cranesbill Geranium phaeum 158.8
Musk Mallow Malva moschata 172.1a
Common Mallow Malva sylvestris 172.2
Garland Flower Daphne cneorum 174.4
Common Rockrose Helianthemum nummularium 174.6
Alpine Rockrose Helianthemum oelandicum 174.8
Yellow Wood Violet Viola biflora 178.10
Horned Pansy Viola cornuta 180.7
Pyrenean Eryngo Eryngium bourgatii 186.3
Lesser Wintergreen Pyrola minor 196.1
Alpenrose Rhododendron ferrugineum 200.1
Alpine Snowbell Soldanella alpina 210.7
'Trumpet-like' Gentian Gentiana angustifolia 216.8a
Spring Gentian Gentiana verna 218.1
Common Centaury Centaurium erythraea 220.3
Viper's Bugloss Echium vulgare 224.4
Marjoram Origanum vulgare 240.1
Wild Thyme Thymus serpyllum 240.2
Thyme-leaved Speedwell Veronica serpyllifolia 248.4
Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus minor 260.1
Matted Globularia Globularia cordifolia 264.3
Common Butterwort Pinguicula vulgaris 264.9
(?) Slender Broomrape Orobanche gracilis 268.8
Pyrenean Valerian Valeriana pyrenaica 274.5
(?) Black Rampion Phyteuma nigrum 278.1
Round-headed Rampion Phyteuma orbiculare 278.3
Spreading Bellflower Campanula patula 280.3
Clustered Bellflower Campanula glomerata 282.2
Nettle-leaved Bellflower Campanula trachelium 282.6a
Shining Scabious Scabiosa lucida 286.2
Pyrenean Scabious Scabiosa cinerea (= S. pyrenaica) 286.4
Pyrenean Thistle Carduus carlinoides 306.2
'Hairless' Sow-thistle Cicerbita plumieri 314.6a
Pyrenean Hawksbeard Crepis albida 318.5
St.Bruno's Lily Paradisea liliastrum 322.6
White Asphodel Asphodelus albus 326.2
Pyrenean Hyacinth Brimeura amethystinus 330.7
English Iris Iris latifolia 336.4
Burnt Orchid Orchis ustulata 340.4
Elder-flowered Orchid Dactylorhiza sambucina 340.5
Broad-leaved Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza majalis 340.7
Common Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii 340.8
Black Vanilla Orchid Nigritella nigra 340.9
Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis 342.2
Small White Orchid Pseudorchis albida 342.6
Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia conopsea 342.7
Greater Butterfly Orchid Platanthera chlorantha 344.3a
Common Twayblade Listera ovata 344.4
As ever, we never quite know what we may see on a trip and this one was no exception. Birds were rather few but we did get stunning views of Alpine Accentor and Snowfinch in particular. The butterflies were superb, particularly the large gatherings at damp spots. Being surrounded by large numbers is more reminiscent of tropical forest, rather than Black-veined Whites in the Gavarnie valley! We identified 11 species of Blues, plus 2 Coppers and 2 Hairstreaks. The Fritillaries and Skippers are more problematic but we have a great many photographs which will aid our efforts. The plants must not be forgotten, with 10 species of Orchids identified.
I 'm sure each of us has taken away our own particular memories. I do hope you all enjoyed the trip as much as I did, and I hope to see you all on another trip sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Keith Grant, July 2004