Saturday, 1 October 2011

Painted Lady

Sunny, 28º, light SE (again another unseasonably hot day)

My first Painted Lady butterfly of the year in Cholsey today, also plenty of Red Admirals around in this weather.

The Painted Lady is a long-distance migrant, which causes the most spectacular butterfly migrations observed in Britain and Ireland.

Each year, it spreads northwards from the desert fringes of North Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia, recolonizing mainland Europe and reaching Britain and Ireland. In some years, it is an abundant butterfly, frequenting gardens and other flowery places in late summer.

I recall a few years back sitting in a meadow valley in the Pyrenees in Spain and watching thousands of Painted Ladys flying north up the valley and heading over the Pyrenean mountains to northern Europe in late May.

Red Admiral.

Starting each spring and continuing through the summer there are northward migrations, which are variable in extent and timing, from North Africa and continental Europe. The immigrant females lay eggs and consequently there is an emergence of fresh butterflies, from about July onwards. They continue flying into October or November.

Both Red Admirals and Painted Lady butterflies have been observed recently arriving in good numbers on the south coast and have also been seen out at sea heading north towards UK.

Look for them on Buddleia, Ivy, Sedum and rotting fruit at this time of year.
                                    Painted Lady

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