Alpine wildlife

The French Alps are home to some impressive wildlife, including the Eurasian Wolf and the Golden Eagle. There are also the mighty horned ancestors of some of our domestic livestock such as the Mouflon (wild sheep), the Ibex (wild goat), and the Chamois (err, basically a Eurasian antelope).

Now I am back from my hols in the hills I would love to show you pictures of these fantastic creatures, but, … unfortunately I didn’t see any. I did see the endemic Alpine Chough, but I was too slow to jump out of the car (on a mountain switch-back) to photograph them.

Whilst not quite such an impressive list, I did get a few shots of the local flora and fauna. Late spring, or ‘inter-season’ as skiers will call it, is a fantastic time to visit to see wildlife.

Grey Wagtail with juvenile

Buzzard (left) and Red Kite (right)

Spotted Flycatcher seen from two angles

Black Redstart – female (left) and male (right)

There is an array of great invertebrates:

Unidentified beetle (top left), Swallowtail butterfly (top right) and two unidentified Orthopterans (crickets and grasshoppers to you and I, bottom – I would hazard a guess that bottom left is a grasshopper nymph and the one on the right is nearly fully grown).

The Alps are famous for their wild flowers, and the meadows are truly stunning in early June with flowers growing often in a tangled mess of colour:

Alpine flowers and grasses

Here is small selection of the wildflowers I saw…

In the blue (and purple) corner…

Clockwise from top left: Unidentified, Harebell, Red Clover, Speedwell, and Cranesbill (wild geranium).

In the yellow (and orange) corner:

Clockwise from top left: Buttercup, Golden Hawksbeard, unidentified nettle, Birdsfoot Trefoil, and Hawkweed Oxtongue.

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