Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Painted Lady.

Painted Lady Steven Cheshire  

I remember 30 May 2009....and always will, it went down in my book as one of the many brilliant birding experiences I've had over the years which have that little bit extra about them, though this time it was a butterfly which brought about an amazing - maybe once in a lifetime - thrill. It was the day I spent five hours in the Clougha/Birk Bank area, nothing unusual about that in itself as this was a Stonechat stronghold in our area at the time and I was 'always' there, but this day in May was to be the day of the butterfly for me. 

On May 21 2009 there was the first indication of arrivals of the Painted Lady butterfly into Britain when members of the Butterfly Conservation began to notice large numbers off Portland Bill in Dorset. Following this date thousands were seen flying north at locations across southern England to East Anglia. There were sighting of hundreds in Central London, soon followed by more seen as far north as Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland.

These butterflies originate from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco where heavy winter rains had aided good germination of the caterpillar food plants, and hundreds of thousands had been observed emerging in February 2009, large numbers had been seen in Spain during April, then later in France a few weeks later.

So there I was on Clougha 30 May 2009 and over the next five hours I counted a truly staggering 149 Painted Lady butterflies as my contribution to the count of what was claimed to have been a mass invasion of 11 million Painted Lady butterflies into the UK during the summer of 2009. 

Perhaps we'd better have a couple of birdy pics for a basically birding blog....

  Shore Lark Marc Heath

You may need to do some serious searching - I'm always serious searching - if you want to find a Shore Lark in our area, though there was one stray individual last year, its anniversary is about now. If I'm really honest, I was hoping for one at Cockersands when I was there last Thursday....dream on! 

Penduline Tit Antonio Puigg

And another one in need of the same serious searching if you're hoping to find one in our area. The first record in Lancashire being of a bird at Leighton Moss eight years ago on 11 November 2004. The only other record of the species in Lancashire was of another bird also at Leighton Moss on 21 November 2011, this individual was deemed to have almost certainly been the same bird seen again this year in February and March.

Thanks for these excellent images MH/AP, much appreciated. 

According to the cover - in my sidebar - of the November issue of Birdwatch magazine, it looks like someone in the magazine has made some notes about the persecution of birds of prey, in particular the Hen Harrier judging by the photograph....a big up for the 'someone' and the magazine.


Findlay Wilde said...

So you have had some great days in your 150 years of birding. From Findlay

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hi peter!!!.. excelent pictures.. Cheers..

Christian said...

Like the Gulls in the header, Pete.

Pete Woodruff said...

Findlay. Excellent you do take note of what I say - 150 years of birding - correct!

Ana. Very few pictures on Birds2blog are mine, but yes you are right....excellent pictures, excellent photographers.

Christian. Just one of the few decent pics of mine from many thousands you're never likely to see and most of which went to the tip years ago.

Brian Rafferty said...

Pete.Nice account of the Painted Lady invasion..Agree with Christian great shot of yours of BHGulls.Thanks for info re Lune Otters. Take care.

Noushka said...

Hi Pete!
Yep, Painted Ladies are impressive migratory butterflies and they tend to migrate in huge number some years!
This summer is the second I have seen none... Quite unusual!
Happy birding, cheers!

Pete Woodruff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pete Woodruff said...

It was good to remind myself of this spectacular Painted Lady event 3.5 years ago in 2009.

Thanks for comments Brian/Noushka.

Marc Heath said...


How do you get your Birdwatch widget in the side. I fancy one of them?