Walk from St Leonard to Crans-Montana GC, Valais, Switzerland

Boy, oh boy, have I got a treat for you nature lovers! But let me first set the scene…

Last week we had yet more snow in the Val d’Hérens. It fell and settled at around the 1500m (5,000ft) mark and, despite the warmer temperatures this weekend, it more or less put paid to any ideas that I might have had of taking a higher level walk in the Val d’Hérens.

After scouring the map, I came up with a circular route which started in St Leonard, in the Rhone valley and climbed a small ‘hill’ called Le Châtelard (@1,272m or 4,173ft) to the small village of Lens. It then took in a few “etangs” or small lakes and some of the Crans-Montana Golf Course before descending, including a small section the Grand Bisse de Lens.

As you will see below, along the way I captured a few flowers, 8 different butterflies, 3 different birds, 2 mammals, a reptile and a moth. I hope you also enjoy the walk!

15 thoughts on “Walk from St Leonard to Crans-Montana GC, Valais, Switzerland

  1. I’m never sure if my comments on individual photos actually post, but what a cracking walk! Yellow flower looks very like a species of salsify (Tragopogon…) – have a look and see if there are any alpine species?

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    • Yes, this has reached me (like any other comment), so many thanks for that… The flower was in the vineyards, so I wouldn’t necessarily consider it to be an alpine plant. It’s certainly not mentioned in my little book, (That’s one of the reasons I immediately ‘give up’ on any flower photos that I take in the Rhone valley). But, I’ve just done a quick Google search of ‘Tragopogon’ and found this one https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragopogon_dubius which looks very much like it (perhaps appropriately named, dubius!?) Let me know what you think. It has a lot of different names for sure!
      I also found an interesting article from a fellow blogger: https://awkwardbotany.com/tag/tragopogon/

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    • Yes, it sort of had a bit of everything. 😊 But, sadly, after 26 degrees yesterday and today (in the valley, maybe 17 to 19 here) we are back to rain and maybe even snow again tomorrow and Tuesday evening. Hopefully things will improve again after that. 🤞🤞

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    • Thanks Brian. It was funny as I was just thinking that the ‘hill’ was a similar environment to another further down the valley, where we’d seen a swallowtail for the first time in Switzerland. So it was in my mind and then, lo and behold, one appeared. Though I was particularly pleased it was the Scarce one, as we don’t see a lot of them. And about 2 minutes later the other arrived. And then, like London buses, around the corner there was one of each! I missed several Brimstones, a few white ones and some blue ones too. Though I went for a quick walk up our road yesterday and there were a few Green Hairstreaks. Got a couple of nice shots of them but nothing else to post them with… I have wondered about doing a ‘feature’ on some of the more interesting ones as I think they get a bit lost in the mass of other photos. Let me know what you think.

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        • Ok – thanks. I may start to do that – as a sort of ‘filler’ between the big walks. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of material! Our little road seems to be a bit of a magnet. I’m also getting a bit obsessed with the ‘blue’ ones. I used to hate photographing them because I could never tell what they were. But now I see it as a challenge. 😊

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  2. Looks like things are well under way with you. And swallow Tails! All those butterfly species you have over there and it’s only early May. Over here in Wiltshire, UK we’re still several degrees below the norm for this time of year – cold and gusty wind here this morning – and the butterflies are all biding their time and hiding away. Been an unusually cold spring – coldest April since records began, I think I heard in one report. Anyway, nice pics. Loved the orchid.

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    • Many thanks David. The weather here has been a little bit up and down. Just when you think the freezing temperatures are behind you, there is another few nights of frost. How the butterflies survive, I’ll never know. It is much warmer down in the Rhone valley though, so I was hopeful of capturing a few on that walk. Though I did photograph a Green Hairstreak yesterday up our little road. I recall they are out quite early in the year too. As for the orchid, I noticed a lady taking a long time photographing something, so I hovered around, taking a pic of that shrine and then went over to see what it was. So I have her to thank for that!

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    • Thank you Donna. I somehow managed to walk past that statue on the top of the hill without seeing it. I think I turned right too early and didn’t realise it was there until I saw all the signs pointing back up to it. I nearly went back up to take a photo, but I didn’t have enough time. Next time… 😊

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