While we got into our van, I noticed a big, dark butterfly sailing from the treetops towards the forest edge. This became the highlight of our Butterfly Tour!
Mostly, our tours go as planned, but sometimes, it is good to have a plan B. This was one of these days:
It was morning and we were driving to our destination in Southern Slovenia. When we approached the highway, I noticed that trucks took the parallel road, which was odd. I decided to follow the trucks’ example: obviously, the truck drivers knew something that I didn’t. We soon saw that, sure enough, traffic at the highway was standing still. But that wasn’t all: we ran into a traffic jam on the parallel road as well! Seeing an unpaved side-road, to left the traffic jam and drove with a wide circle back in the direction from where we came.
I took our guests to a forest edge on the side of a hill. I knew that the landscape would be good here, but I wasn’t entirely sure which butterfly species to expect. Since we were on a specialized butterfly tour, this made me a bit unsure. Without reason: soon enough everyone was photographing butterflies and enjoying the sunny weather, so all was well. After a while, it was time to go to another area. But then it happened: while we got into our van, I noticed a big, dark butterfly sailing from the treetops towards the forest edge. I shouted a species name, which was not too far-fetched, but the wrong species anyway. This was a strong call to action! We jumped out of the van and carefully approached the butterfly, which had landed on some daisy fleabanes.
Only then we realized what it really was: a Poplar White Admiral, an incredibly rare butterfly species which spends most of its time in treetops, out of view. And what a beauty it was! One of the largest Slovenian butterflies, it had a beautiful dark velvety brown colour. It was so dark that it was almost black, with a delicate greenish blue shimmer and bold white and orange markings. It sat on the flower like a professional model, patiently waiting until all the photographers got their best pictures of the tour. Then, it gently flew back to the treetops.
The rest of the day we kept talking about this remarkable butterfly species, which none of us had even hoped to see. We later heard that traffic accidents had blocked both the highway and the parallel road and it took many hours until the traffic to the south resumed. Only because we know the area so well, we were able to change plans …