The Hautes Pyrénées, as the name suggests, includes the highest peaks of this entire range, with several exceeding 3,000m. It is undoubtedly one of the most dramatic and beautiful mountain environments in the whole of Europe with breathtaking scenery and an enviable array of flora and fauna which live in this montane paradise.
This tour will be aimed at seeking out the most notable butterflies that call this environment home, with a particular emphasis on five of the Erebia mountain ringlets, namely the endemic False Dewy Ringlet Erebia sthennyo, Gavarnie Ringlet Erebia gorgone, and Pyrenean Brassy Ringlet Erebia rondoui. In addition, further targets are Lefebvre’s Ringlet Erebia lefebvrei, and the constans form of Yellow-Spotted Ringlet Erebia manto.
Of course, there will be other desirable butterflies on the wing. We will search for Gavarnie Blue Agriades pyrenaicus, Large Chequered Skipper Heteropterus morpheus, Apollo Parnassius apollo, Glandon Blue Agriades glandon, Shepherd’s Fritillary Boloria pales, and, if the season is sufficiently early, Water Ringlet Erebia pronoe.
To maximise the potential for seeing the above species, this tour will be a two-centred one, with the first part spent in the Vallée de la Neste, taking in the surrounding mountain massif.
The second part will be based in the town of Argèles Gazost, to give the opportunity to visit rich areas nearby such as Col des Tentes, the Vallé d’Ossoue and the Cirque de Troumouse, a World Heritage site.
The nature of the main target butterflies essentially means that much of the tour will be spent at altitude, although there will be opportunities to explore lower elevation sites to acquaint ourselves with the wide variety of additional species that can be found there.
As a consequence, we recommend this tour for those with good mobility and a fair degree of stamina, as there will be occasions where distances of up to two miles will be covered, with a fair degree of gradient and rocky terrain. The group size will be a maximum of ten with two guides.