Earlier this year there was an invasion of Painted Lady (vanessa cardui) butterflies in the UK which had migrated up from the Mediterranean. The eggs laid by these migrants have hatched, the caterpillars have pupated and now, we are told to expect billions of these butterflies in the coming month prior to them migrating back to sunnier and warmer climes to start the life cycle over again. For more information about these visitors please visit the Butterfly Conservation website and record your sightings.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I think that for something the size of a butterfly, which looks incredibly delicate, to fly down to the south of Spain is pretty incredible. I don’t want to do that and I could get on a ‘plane. When you add in the fact that these often appear in quite large numbers, are attracted to gardens, particularly those with buddleia or verbena bonariensis (i.e. mine) then I think they are pretty special. They are also fantastic to look at and photograph, staying pretty still for quite a while (unlike those pesky large whites which rarely settle and lay their caterpillar-bearing eggs all over my brassicas).
Let’s just hope the sun comes out again.