Saturday, 23 May 2009

Foreign parts (part 3 - mountains)

The north end of Lake Garda is enclosed by mountains; the southern edge of the Alps, and on the east side by the Monte Baldo range. Fortunately there is a cable car from the lakeside to the top, into the snow at this time of the year.
As the snow recedes, a flush of crucuses (OK, croci) quickly takes its place, giving a carpet of thousands.
Glaciers covered the lower slopes in the last ice age, but the mountain tops remained uncovered, so ancient floral species were able to survive - the area is now a nature reserve because of this.
Gentians were starting to come through the warming soil (stemless and spring gentians?)...

...and what semed at first sight to be cowslips were in fact bear's ears.

Alpine snowbells - quite lovely

Alpine buttercup
Pasque flower

The first orchids were starting show, the one below being - I think - a pale-flowered orchid.

Where there are tourists, there are scavengers; in this habitat they were alpine choughs.


Greenie said...

Steve ,
Fabulous set of photographs .
Those Alpine Snowbells are something else .
As you say , those Bear's Ears are very Cowslipy .

Mary said...

Amazingly beautiful! I love that snowbell.

NW Nature Nut said...

Wow! Lots of wonderful wildflowers and spectacular views.