An Admirable Autumn

It’s been a bumper year for Painted Ladies, as reported in many places, with the Big Butterfly Count revealing the spectacularly super-flying migrant as the most prolific butterfly of 2019.

Painted Lady, June 2019

But if the count were carried out now, in September, the Red Admiral would surely win hands-down. Or wings down.

Red Admiral, this summer

They’ve been blooming everywhere this month! Buddleias, at least, seem to be teeming with them. Including the large bush that overhangs our patio from next door. On one day there were about 10 Red Admirals at once on this particular buddleia.

Red Admiral, Sept 2019

We then also have the delight in watching them settle on the fence or bird-table, wings open, catching the sun.

The Painted Lady bonanza hit the headlines because it only happens about every 10 years and because of the incredible 1000s of miles the species flies from Africa to British shores.

Painted Lady, June 2019

The Red Admiral fest may not be so newsworthy, but has been equally enjoyable, and worthy of logging here – for my own reference, at least.

This Red Admiral, which had been feeding on the buddleia that overhangs our garden, settled next to the left-over rice we’d put out on our bird-table. It seemed more interested in the rice than the birds had been.

Let’s keep enjoying the everyday as well as the unusual.

First Ladies and Skippers

Things are hotting up for butterflies around Summerfields Woods in Hastings during this warm spell. Meadow Browns and Large Skippers are coming out in force.

Large Skipper

And today was the first day this year that I’ve seen that famously marathon-flying migrant, the Painted Lady. There were a few of them there today, enjoying the blackberry flowers on the edge of the woods, near the ambulance station.

Painted Lady today, Summerfields Woods

The area must be no more be no more than about 200 metres from the seafront as the crow (or butterfly) flies.

So my guess is that these specimens had just arrived from their ultra-long journey from the continent, perhaps even North Africa.

You can just see a second Painted Lady in the background here

This was probably their first stopping point, replenishing their energy on that bramble nectar.

Ladybird thrown in for free!

Watching these elegant and exotic visitors, knowing they were nourishing themselves at the end of such a mammoth trek, was quite a privilege.