Pyrenees Wildlife and Flora
Once springtime hits the Pyrenees and the snow begins to melt the wildflowers bloom en masse. Here it is a paradise for lovers of wildflowers which are so abundant and where there is such a rich variety.
One amazing such flower is the orchid. Twenty two different species of this flower grows in the Pyrenees, such as red Hellebrines, Black Vanilla Orchids and carpets of pink and yellow varieties too. As their names suggest they are vibrant and easily spotted.
You will also see other wildflowers such as Purple Butterworts, Blue Gentians and swathes of buttercups which are the first wildflowers to appear in the spring.
There are a wide variety of butterflies that inhabit the Pyrenees. Keep your eyes peeled for large and stunning varieties such as Apollos and Swallowtails or smaller kinds such as Fritillaries and the Two-tailed Pasha, which is particularly colourful.
If you are lucky you will spot a Bearded Vulture, also known as a "Lammergeier", it has a wingspan of 3m. These magnificent birds also live in other high mountain areas in Europe, Asia and Africa, but it is here that they are most prolific. It is rusty-coloured and its diet consists of only bones!
You may also see, red kites, golden eagles (although this is rare), griffon vultures, a bright yellow Citril finch and a Rock Bunting with its chestnut underbelly.
The Pyrenean Chamois or "Isard" is the region's equivalent of a mountain goat. It is chestnut coloured with pale underparts and a white tail. It has narrow curved horns and you may spot it at high altitudes and on steep slopes and rocky ledges.
The Marmot had completely disappeared from Pyrenees but has successfully been reintroduced. A large herbivore rodent, they have a noisy warning squeak that you will hear if you get too close! They hibernate for 6 months but in the summer they live in family groups and usually have 2 or 3 offspring per year.
The Wild Boar live in wooded areas of the mountains and route for bulbs and tubers. It is rare to see one as they are shy and generally nocturnal. They can grow up to 1.5m in length and have sharp tusks. The piglets are stripy for the first year.