While ascending some steps on the slopes of Denbies Hillside last week I was delighted to have another encounter with a migrant Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) taking advantage of a break in the clouds to bask in the brief sunshine.
With some six generations each year this species completes an astonishing 15,000km round trip between North Africa and Northern Europe. The numbers appearing in Britain depends on suitable winds and fluctuates dramatically from year to year with the most recent major migration seen in 2009 when around 4 million were detected by radar crossing the English Channel between the 25 and 29 May.
So far this year the data from UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme indicates that the Painted Lady has been recorded at 424 different sites.
Life Cycle: From egg to adult takes 7-9 weeks, depending on temperatures, and the adults live between 10 to 24 days.
Larval Foodplants: Mainly thistle species but also Mallow, Nettle and Viper's-bugloss.
Nature Notes hosted by Michelle