Last butterflies and orchids in the Colli Euganei

Colli Euganei, the range of vulcanic hills in the west of Padua, are one of the best sites where to find a large variety of orchids, but in autumn, like other places in Veneto, the area hosts just a blooming species: the Lady’s-tresses Orchid (Spiranthes spiralis). Its very tiny inflorescences are hard to be spotted, beeing usually hidden in the grass and usually not higher than a dozen of centimeters, but from a close view they reveal some unespected details, with thy spiral and glass-like flowers!

The dry meadows of the colli are also a good place where look for Mediterranean butteflies like the graylings; I’ve found some individuals of Common Grayling (Hipparchia semele), never common in the truth so far in the north, and a Woodland Grayling (Hipparchia fagi). Other observed species were Eastern Bath White (Pontia edusa), Small White (Pieris rapae), Common Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Lang’s Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Adonis Blue (Lysandra bellargus), Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) and Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).

Not a lot of flowers around, both in meadows and woodlands: the best were the pink blooms of Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale).

Among birds, I observed Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, tens of House Martins, 1-2 Tree Pipits, 4-5 Firecrests, some Sardinian Warblers, Serins, Linnets and Cirl Buntings and at least 1 Siskin. Insects were well represented by a gorgeous European Mantis (Mantis religiosa), while reptiles included a couple of lizards, Italian Wall and Western Green.

Luca Boscain

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