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A picture of the Spanish Pyrenees
A Picture of the Spanish Pyrenees, Landscapes, Flowers, A year of Wildlife colour, Butterflies, Butterflies in their habitats and Transport.

The Spanish Pyrenees holds some of the best wildlife habitats in Europe, with alpine wildlife merging with Mediterranean to provide a wealth of interest and activity. The majestic scenery here, holds within many secrets. High up in the Aigues Tortes National park, winter snow melts have neared their end, uncovering great floral displays. Crystal clear water rushes through areas of flowery meadow and forest. Here, delightful Saxifrages, including water and meadow varieties are found. The delightful Pyramidal Bugle stands out as it flowers through the damp grass. At this altitude the spectacular Apollo and Peak White butterflies are to be found. The wonderful valleys, hold within, many secrets. The Perbes valley just one, winding up and down through deep cut gorges. Vultures including Griffon and Egyptian patrol the cliff tops, before giving a demonstration of their size and power before disappearing over the tops. The Pic d' Aneto, the Pyrenees highest mountain, backdrops the Val d' Aran area, where flowering meadows are home to butterflies like Amanda's Blue and Scarce Copper.

Landscapes
So much can be captured by scenery shots. Whether these are in full colour or the vibrant moods of black and white photography. Light levels play a major part in landscape scenes. An early afternoon shot of Ivinghoe Beacon in England, brings out the levels of deepness in sky and land. Alternatively an early morning snow scene photo produces more dull light which helps the effect of the overall photo. Different heights can also be used when photographing. The French Alps village of Rimplas, shot here looking across, could also have been taken from below and above for completely different results. The stunning gorge at Ronda Andalucia, is a photographers dream If you have the energy, you can descend right down to get tremendous 'depth' to the photo, looking back.

Flowers
Plants, with their beauty of flower and foliage give the photographer endless material to enjoy. Spring flowers are a favourite, from the first swathes of Snowdrops, backlit by deep blue skies contrasted by the first wild Plum blossoms, down to the ever favourite Daffodil. Polyanthus, a long lasting flower comes to the fore in late spring with it's numerous shades of colour. After the mass of summer flowering plants, Autumn time reveals a blaze of dazzling colour. One of the best to show this off is the attractive Sumach.

A year of wildlife colour
The end of winter and the early warming days of spring encourage colourful Crocus to emerge. As the days lengthen hibernated Comma and Peacock butterflies are joined by the unmistakeable Orange Tip. Beds of Tulips flower followed by woodland glades full of Bluebells. Summer heralds walls of Roses and delicate wild Mallow along pathways. The brillant Beautiful Demoiselle 'dances' over water stretches. Cottage gardens are covered by Everlasting Sweet Pea, where Painted Lady butterflies feed on Hemp. The clover fields attract the Clouded Yellow to nector and late summer Brown Hairstreaks feed on the fading bramble blossoms, as Harvestime arrives. The artistic heads of Cortaderia make a dramatic display as the trees turn and reveal a spectacular display of Autum colour.

Butterflies
The beautiful colours and freedom in flight of these insects is fascinating to many. Found throughout the world in a variety of habitats these innocent insects hold a special place, for many. Butterflies like the Apollo and Peacock species use their bright eye like features on their wings to deter preditors. The Lacewing butterfly is one which is poisonous and gives warning to birds, by the striking red wings it has. This species of Lacewing also displays a beautifully patterned underside. The life cycle envolves hatching from an egg to a larvae, becoming a chrysalis, through to an adult butterfly which lays more eggs to complete the cycle. The ability to fly thousands of miles on migration routes like the Monarch does from Northern America to Mexico, is truly remarkable. Butterflies roost overnight or in dull weather; as seen with the Green-striped White, waiting for the warmth of the air and sun to enable them to fly again. These insects feed on a variety of nector sources. These including the Red Admiral seen on Buddleia, Black-veined White on Thistle and Brimstone on Dandelion. Minerals and salts are also obtained from damp patches on the ground as shown by the Damon Blue.

Butterflies in their Habitats
The existence of the butterfly and wildlife in general is greatly effected by the daily need for expansion and improvement. Isolated colonies which have existed for years can be destroyed in minutes, forever. It is no coincidence that butterflies are found in greatest quantity and variety in remote, upland areas where man has not truly encroached into. Mountains, meadows and woodlands are three of the habitats where butterflies thrieve. Making homes to spectacular species like the Blue Morpho and Freyer's Purple Emperor. In Alpine Meadows, stunning flowers like Pink Butterfly Orchid, Spring Gentian and orange Lily flourish while across the meadow Scarce Swallowtails and Clouded Apollos float. With their very own individual climates, mountains provide the protection and shelter for species like the Eastern Festoon and Southern Swallowtail to live. With the help of growing conservation groups in recent years, it gives a hope to protect and secure these habitats. A future world without these beautiful insects in their homes, would indeed be a lesser one.

Transport
The moving nature of transport can be captured frozen, through the lens. The speed and grace of Concorde and the Red Arrows is displayed here at the Heathrow fly past 1996. Two other aero planes shown are Vickers Vanguard G-APEP, first flown in 1961, being used as a passenger and freighter aircraft. It was withdrawn from use in the 1990's. Lockheed Electra G-LOFE is still being used today as a freighter and is run by Coventry based airline, Atlantic Airlines. The bus captured is STL 2377. Now a preserved vvehicle, this bus was built in the late 1930's and worked mainly on routes within the London Transport area. Photographed on the Blackpool tram system, where it still works is Ballon 710. Built in the mid 1930's, here it works tirelessly on the ever popular seaside resort of illuminations and activities.

Clive Burrows, clive@cliveburrows.wanadoo.co.uk

Clive Burrows has given permission for this article to be published here, for which I thank him very much. The article is copyright to Clive Burrows, and his permission should be sought before it is reproduced elsewhere; this article is presented here in HTML format, and may either be read on-line or downloaded for later perusal


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