Sunday, 4 November 2012

A Mystery Solved.

 Red Admiral Noushka Dufort

The secrets of the Painted Lady (PL) have been unveiled, until now it was never known where  they went to in the autumn and the big discovery is, that just like its close relation the Red Admiral it makes its return journey to Africa at the end of summer. 

Through more than 60,000 public sightings during 2009, plus scientific and research studies, it was discovered that the PL did migrate south each autumn, but made the journey at high altitude out of observer views on the ground. When the PL's select the right conditions radar records showed that the average southbound altitude was at 500m whilst clocking speeds of up to 30mph. Findings have also revealed that this butterfly undertakes the truly staggering round trip from Tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle, a journey totalling 9,000 miles which represents almost double the length of the famous migrations of the Monarch butterfly in North America.

What is brought to light here is that this tiny creature weighing less than a gram, a brain no bigger than a pinhead, and with no opportunity to learn from experience, undertakes an epic migration in order to find plants for its caterpillars to feed on, a combination of observer, scientific, and modern technology have shown this butterfly to be a truly sophisticated traveller. 

As noted in my post on Sunday about this amazing creature, the PL entered the UK in the spring of 2009 to reach a total of around 11 million, the figure leaving the UK in the following autumn is said to be that of 26 million. The man in the street, the scientists, and researchers with 21st century technology, gathered the evidence they needed to uncover the long standing puzzle of what exactly happened to the PL at the end of summer in the UK, and furthering the proof that migrant insects amaze as they are capable of carrying out the most remarkable journeys. 

Once thought to be at the mercy of the wind and into a dead end in the lethal British winter, the Painted Lady has now revealed what an extraordinary butterfly it really is. 

With the appalling weather of 2012 in the UK it will be a different story than that told about the amazing 11 million invasion of Painted Lady's in 2009....and many other species too I imagine.


Bearded Tit Marc Heath

If we're going to end with a pic it has to be this one of the Bearded Tit - though shouldn't it be called the Moustached Tit - star birds of Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve in Lancashire. But this one has arrived here from Kent via the internet....Thanks Marc, a brilliant image, much appreciated and thanks for getting in touch recently.

Another MEGA.

Spanish Sparrow Ana Minguez

A Spanish Sparrow was found today in a garden at Newchurch on the Isle of Wight. Thanks for the image of your very own Spanish Sparrow in Spain Ana....much appreciated. 

I'D SOONER BE BIRDING....Tomorrow with any luck!


Warren Baker said...

Yep, a truly amazing tale Pete. Dont forget we not only get lethal winters, but summers that are almost as bad!

Adam said...

I love the colors of the first bird

Noushka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Noushka said...

Ok, I was trying to to put up a straight link to a post of mine for the Painted Lady, it didn't work out!
As I said, a very interesting post about a gorgeous butterfly!
Thanks for choosing one of my butterflies!
Here is the URL to pictures of this beauty, in case:
Cheers my friend, keep well!

Pete Woodruff said...


Noushka....Its for me to thank you for allowing me to use your images. If only I'd have found the brilliant one earlier which you pointed me to.

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Beautiful post. Congrat.. Cheers!!!.. ;-)))