The Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)
Just occasionally we get a mass invasion of Painted Lady in the UK and my records show that the last time was 2009. I recall that if one found some, it would be dozens at a time and collecting suitable photographs was easy. Since then I only ever see the odd one in each year, in fact I think it has only been one a year since 2009 and mostly I find that odd one at the Woodland/Heath Reserve that I visit regularly.
This week I visited the Woodland/Heath in question. It was a warm sunny morning, but due to the time of year I did not expect to find much in the way of butterfly life.
Bizarrely, while I was looking around an open heath area I heard the sound of a Mute Swan and soon observed it flying over. I took a few shots and then looked back down on the nearby flowers. There it was, a Painted Lady Butterfly. It was in reasonably good condition and I took as many shots as I could in case it made off. I then continued on my walk around the area and found quite a variety of other butterflies which I will post about subsequently. On more than one subsequent occasion I found the same Painted Lady again and took more shots. So I had plenty to choose from for this post.
Due to its wingspan I am inclined to think this one is a female. An average for a female is 70mm as opposed to a male which is 64mm.