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A Day in Nature - From Caterpillar to Butterfly - 16 June 2013

Picture this scene: a meadow covered by knee-high grasses, flowers clumped in small but perfectly formed summer bouquets, sun smiling down – suddenly there is movement. One of us takes flight – gamboling through the grass like a spring lamb, butterfly net swishing manically from side to side in hot pursuit of the elusive quarry.

There is no evil intent – merely a desire to net one of these fluttering beauties, capture it briefly in an observation jar and then meticulously pore over every nuance of its markings, wing shape, size and how it compares to the treasures found previously by others in our party. We all become observers of detail – fine details like shades and tones of colour, shape and pathways of line markings, position of spots and colour on wing parts.

A whole new world in miniature is opened up to us who have embarked on this learning expedition to the far north of Luxembourg in Basbellian on a site that is perfect for viewing the focus of our expedition – The Violet Copper.

Our expert guides for the Day in Nature - from Caterpillar to Butterfly - are Marie, a butterfly specialist and Mikis (an ornithologist) both representatives of natur&ëmwelt. They provide us patiently with their extensive local knowledge and answers to questions coming from those within the group who are already astute and knowledgeable about butterflies, moths and other local wildlife; others of us on the beginning of our learning curve.

Mikis expertly and effortlessly nets a Violet Copper in the first few minutes of our arrival on site. This tiny specimen (wingspan of 24 to 26 mm) exhibits vibrant blue and orange colouring in the male of the species and orange/brown in the female. We are enchanted equally by the colour and size but mostly by the revelation that this butterfly is quite rare and often confined to small sites such as this swampy wet grassland.

For me, learning more about the work of natur&ëmwelt has been a revelation. I had limited understanding of the scope of the work and the commitment by this organisation to the understanding and development of the ecology of Luxembourg. My Day in Nature with this group of interesting, and knowledgeable people has served to inspire me to learn and be more involved.

Mrs. Pat Tunney, Volunteer

A guide on butterflies in French or German can be downloaded from this webpage:

photo (c) Mikis Bastian