Eifel, Germany - August 2022
From 7-9 August 2022, I went on another 3-day trip to the Eifel, Germany. In May of this year, my aim was mainly to watch birds.
This time, while birding in August is usually rather slow, I came here to find butterflies.
During the whole trip I saw a little over 30 different butterfly species.
Sun 9 August: Hilversum to Breinigerberg/Schlangenberg (2,5 hours), Mützenicher Venn (Belgium), Perlenbach- und Furhtsbachtal; night in Monschau;
Mon 8 Aug: Urfttal, Gillesbachtal, Blankenheim area; night in Monschau;
Tue 9 Aug: Dreiborn Highlands (Eifel NP), Urft Dam (Eifel NP); Drive back to Hilversum
Burg Hotel, Monschau (GPS: 50.554253, 6.241059)
This is one of the oldest and loveliest hotels in the heart of the ancient town of Monschau.
The following locations are all near Monschau and not far from each other, max 40 km, and can therefore always be easily combined with each other on one day.
Breinigerberg / Schlangenberg (GPS: 50.736433, 6.244253)
Parking: GPS: 50.739941, 6.243168.
This nature reserve is definitely worth a visit. The following butterflies may be found here: Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (zilveren maan), Niobe fritillary (Duinparelmoervlinder), Queen of Spain (Kleine Parelmoervlinder), Small Blue (Dwergblauwtje), Silver-studded Blue (Heideblauwtje), Mazarine Blue (Klaverblauwtje), Purple-edged Copper (Rode Vuurvlinder), Sooty Copper (Bruine Vuurvlinder), Green Hairstreak (Groentje), Wood White (Boswitje), Small Skipper (Geelsprietdikkopje), Pearly Heath (Tweekleurig Hooibeestje), Orange Tip (Oranjetipje) en het Ringlet (Koevinkje). As far as birds are concerned, you should think of Red-backed Shrike, Tree Pipit, Black Redstart, Blackcap, Greater Whitethroat, Woodlark and Bullfinch.
Nationaal Park Eifel
The Eifel National Park is a 11,000 hectares protected area located in the west part of Germany, close to the Belgian border. The wood-covered Kermeter mountain range gives the area its charming scenery, but the park doesn’t just consist of woods. In fact, the Dreiborner plateau and its meadows and gorges are one of the reasons why the park is so special. Through its valleys flow many watercourses. On the banks of these rivers, you can take pictures of wagtails and white-throated dippers. The water streams meet into two large reservoirs lakes: the Urft and the Rur dams. Their steep shores add even more magic to the Eifel Park’s landscape. In spring, I visited the Paulushoffdam (GPS: 50.607354, 6.388603); this time in August, I went to the stunning Urft Dam: GPS: 50.603705, 6.420216 where to my surprise, I found many Jersey Tigers (Spaanse Vlag). There are numerous picturesque hiking trails and viewpoints, such as the Hirschley on the Rur (GPS: 50.621756, 6.414575).
The open lands of the Dreiborn Highlands (GPS: 50.545971, 6.360631) are the best places in the park to observe bird species. There is a parking from where you walk right into the highlands: GPS: 50.540001, 6.394629 and a nearby bird hide with a nice view over the highlands: GPS: 50.551216, 6.406501. Eurasian Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Yellowhammer are common. Among them can also be found more rare specimens such as the Wheatear and the Whinchat. Red-backed Shrike is fairly common and Melodious Warbler hide in the bush. In springtime and autumn, the Dreiborn plateau is a great place to watch Cranes. Black Stork fly over the area to get from their breeding places to their feeding areas and vice versa. I found quite a lot of butterflies here such as: Wall Brown (Argusvlinder), Red Admiral (Atalanta), Speckled Wood (Bont Zandoogje), Sooty Copper (Bruine Vuurvlinder), Small Heath (Hooibeestje), Silver-washed Fritillary (Keizersmantel) and Queen of Spain (Kleine Parelmoervlinder),
To my surprise, in the wooded area a little north of the bird hide, I ran into a mother Wild Boar with 6-7 babies!
Perlental and the Fuhrtsbachtal (near Monschau)
The area surrounding the beautiful town of Monschau is known for its many butterflies. For a walk through the valley of the Perlenbach it is best to go to the heart of the area and start at the hotel Gut Heistert (GPS: 50.504594, 6.246644) near Kalterherberg and the German/Belgium border. Walk into the valley of the Jägerssief (GPS: 50.499229, 6.262122) with its special flora. At GPS: 50.501214, 6.255225, take a left and follow the path with the river Perlenbach to your left back. At the Unterer Steg, you can climb back up to Gut Heistert (you are walking a loop counter clockwise). I found here Dark Green Fritillary (Grote Parelmoervlinder), Queen of Spain (Kleine Parelmoervlinder), Comma (Gehakkelde Aurelia), en of course the very abundant Silver-washed Fritillary (Keizersmantel).
Urfttal (GPS: 50.513533, 6.608336)
20km East of Eifel National Park.
This is a great place for birds and butterflies. There is a nice educational Butterfly Trail (Schmetterlingspfad) which is merely a 1 km paved bike road through grassland. Along the verge of the path I found many butterflies like: Chalkhill Blue (Bleek Blauwtje), Common Blue (Icarusblauwtje), Mazarine Blue (Klaverblauwtje), Brown Argus (Bruin Blauwtje), Large Skipper (Groot Dikkopje), Small Heath (Hooibeestje), Silver-washed Fritillary (Keizersmantel), Green-veined White (Klein Geaderd Witje), Map Butterfly (Landkaartje) and Scotch Argus (Zomererebia).
Gillesbachtal (GPS: 50.482876, 6.565743)
This is a nice short trail through hilly country along grassland and bushes with lots of orchids and butterflies. I found here a lot of Brown Argus (Bruin Blauwtje) and Chalk-hill Blue (Bleek Blauwtje).
Blankenheim area (GPS: 50.439107, 6.645320)
Just south of Urfttal and 40km south-east of Monschau. Here you find many valleys with calcareous grasslands with orchids and butterflies.
Schafbachtal (GPS: 50.397226, 6.626561): a few km south. Forest edges with often rare butterflies. Walk east and follow the path in a loop. It should be a good spot to find Marbled Fritillary (Braamparelmoervlinder), but I didn’t.
Lamperts(bach)tal (GPS: 50.375067, 6.681147); a few km further south-east. Park your car at GPS: 50.383189, 6.696043. This is a stream valley with alternating (lime) grasslands and forest areas. Excellent to find butterflies. There is a nice trail on the other side of the parking. Near the Juniper Trees (Jeneverbes), I ran into a Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (Kolibrievlinder) but I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of it. Silver-washed Fritillary (Keizersmantel) is abundant here too. This was the only spot where I found Marbled White (Dambordje) and Brown Hairstreak (Sleedoornpage). Also, there is a nice view point at: GPS: 50.381901, 6.674282.
Het Mützenicher Venn/ Nature Reserve Hoge Venen (GPS: 50.568471, 6.180624)
This raised moor area is located in Belgium, basically on the border with Germany. You may find Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Zilveren Maan) and Cranberry Blue (Veenbesblauwtje), but I only found Wall Brown (Argusvlinder), Speckled Wood (Bont Zandoogje), Small Heath (Hooibeestje) and a single Old World Swallowtail (Koninginnepage).
A little south, at the bike path at GPS: 50.556099, 6.213876 (at the German/Belgium border), I found a lot of butterflies: Silver-washed Fritillary (Keizersmantel), Peacock Butterfly (Dagpauwoog), Small Tortoiseshell (Kleine Vos), Small White (Klein Koolwitje), Meadow Brown (Bruin Zandoogje) etc.