Wednesday, 1 October 2008

And finally the Lady arrives! BBC Radio 4 World On the Move

Painted Lady on Buddleia, Picture taken too quickly as I was rushing in awe

On the 29th September, one month later than 2007, and 2 months later than 2006. Finally the Lady from Africa made it to my garden, landing on what's left of the flowering Buddleia. I'm referring to the magnificent Painted Lady, that most delicate of Butterfly that has flown all the way from Africa to be with us here in England. A member of the Vanessa family which includes the another migrant Butterfly "The Red Admiral". What a glorious addition and so late in the season this Butterfly is to the garden. It always seems amazing to me that on such small wings such an insect can fly from Africa to England, and indeed beyond, as this Butterfly is one that is also found in Iceland. I'm sure everyone will agree that the Painted Lady goes far beyond the realms of bizarre and well into the boundary of total wonder and inspiration. Apparently they feed as they move, with food plants described from Nettle, Thistle and Burdock. I have seen them feeding on Ragwort. Invasions of the Painted Lady in England are well documented, as in 1948 and again 1952 were the word pest is used to describe the species.
Sadly there is no sign of the Lady's in the garden on the 30th as the rain and north winds have returned and even though its been sunny for October the 1st, they have all gone. Well just one day in the year of this fantastic Butterfly is better than no days at all. I hope everyone is tuning to BBC Radio 4 every Tuesday morning at 1100 hours. The BBC Radio 4 series World On The Move, which is looking in detail at migration right around the Earth, and autumn of course is a climax for the series. If you have missed a programme don't forget the World On The Move website, you can find me there as well, and occasionally popping up on the programme. This indeed is a great radio and one that could never be done on TV, if your into Natural History and not following this series your missing something big.More settled for this one as now 3-4 have arrived on the 29th Sept 08. These Pictures are a record, and not photographs (honest)

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