In late June 2011 I spent a week photographing the views, wild flowers and butterflies of the Swiss Alps with Bob Gibbons and his group. We were based in Pontresina, which is close to the Itanian border. Below is a selection of the 1800 pictues that I took while there.

 

                                          The Swiss Alps

Above a snow shelf ready to go at Diavolezza. It stayed attached while we were there

Above a patch of Alpine Crowfoot in the Alps at the top of Diavolezza (3000m). The clump of King of the Alps (below) was growing close by out of a crevis on a rock face.

Spring Gentians (above) were seen flowering from the mountain tops to the valley bottoms,. Many Trumpet Gentians (below) had finished flowering, but were still in full flower in other areas, sometimes not far away.

Above Alpine Ox-eye Daisy's growing high up on mountain scree.

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Many of the valley sides and bottoms (below) were rich in wild flowers and butterflies.

 

Alpine Pansy Viola alpina were occasionally found in large numbers in the lower habitats, as was Alpenrose Rhododendron ferrugineum (below) that grew as thickets in places, and were visited by nectar seaking insects, including the Mountain Clouded Yellow and Chequered Skipper butterflies.

Above a Chequered Skipper butterfly nectaring on Alpenrose.

 

Above two flowery mountainside with Saxfarage and Alpine Speedwell in the mountains just a few miles from Pontresina where we were staying. Below St. Bruno's Lily was found a mile or so further along the valley, on the walk back to our hotel.

 

The above Martagon Lily was found growing in just one of the lower flower meadows, an unexpected and wonderful site for our last full day in the Alps.

A walk up the Val de Chamuer track below, proved to be very rewarding. The threating weather held back over the mountain tops, and the sun broke through from time to time activating the butterflies and other insects. Many wild flowers were found along the trackside.

Below, finding several clumps of Lady's Slipper Orchids was one of the highlights of this walk, they were growing in woodland beside the track.

                                                                  

 

Above an Alpine Aster, and below Alpine Pasque flowers.

I only found one area where Long-spurred Pansy's (above) were flowering, however the Alpine Pansy (below) was quite common.

 

Above a rich assortment of wild flowers in one of the valley sides.

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The Albula Pass (above) @ 2315m had a rich  flora just by the roadside. It was just about dry when we arrived, but it soon began raining, and we retreated back to the mini bus when it started to hail and thunder. Below are some of the flower I managed to photograph before I had to  head for cover.

Above Entire-leaved Primrose and below The Blue Pansy.

Above the Alpine Snowbell Soldanell alpina. While photographing this plant it started hailing, so was the last plant to be photographed at that location. Below Snowbells Soldanella pusilla were in thousands at Col de Fluella (2395m) with some just emerging from the snow.

Below hundreds of Globe flowers in bloom in a damp area.

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                                                      Butterflies of the Alps.

Some 24 different butterfly species were seen during the week, above an assortment of "Blues" drinking from a damp patch along a track. Below are a few of the pictures that I managed to get. The Mazarine Blue (below) was frequently seen in suitable habitats from valley bottoms to a fair way up the hills, as long as there were flowers around.

Above Mazerine Blues and below a Chequered Skipper posing for me in a woodland ride.

The Alpine Heath butterfly (above) was frequently seen, and various Mountain Ringlet species (below) were seen. There are many different species in the Alps and they were just coming on the wing, being more frequently seen towards the end of our weeks stay.

 

 

The Alpine form of the Marsh Fritillary (above) was quite common in the damper areas. Below the mountain Clouder Yellow, seen from valley bottoms to high up around the snow line.

The Pearl-bordered Fritillary (above) was common in many places in the Alps. Also frequently seen were Alpine Grizzled Skipper (below), together with several other "Grizzled Skipper" species.

Above the obscura form of the Large Blue that frequently occurs in the Alps, this and the normal form (below) were seen on the track side flowers in seveal places.

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There were a number of the above 5-Spotted Burnet Zygaena sp. moths flying around while we had lunch @ Val Minor (2200m). So far the exact species has not been identefied. Below is a very attractive Micro moth Psodos quadrifaria that was seen in several locations.

 

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