Great storms and butterflies at Trimouns, Luzenac

Above Luzenac near the end of the road to the huge talc quarry, there is a track that runs east below some mature beech woodland. There are fine views to the south across the valley of the high mountain chain and the storms that build over them each afternoon. The clouds run in from the east and envelop the peaks in a deep grey shroud.

Whilst the view was of great cloudscapes, the south facing slope at Trimouns remains under blue sky; here the land is turning to scrub with abundant bracken, bramble and thistles, probably where the grazing animals no longer are in control. In mid-June there is an abundance of butterflies including both dark green and high brown fritillaries. They are both confiding as they nectar and the differences between the two species on the upper and lower wings are easy to spot. In the UK, the high brown is perhaps the rarest butterfly of them all, having declined almost everywhere and now restricted to a handful of sites in western Britain.

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