A Lepidopteran Feast

Red Admiral on ‘feral’ buddleia

Dear Readers, thank you for sticking with me for the past week – this morning I woke up after my first proper nights sleep in ten days feeling about a billion percent better than I did. I will still be taking things easy for a few days, but it’s nice to not feel just like crawling back to bed. And one of the great things about my office is that I can bird and bug watch out of the window. There has been a great collection of new-minted butterflies today, like this red admiral. I always feel that their undersides are every bit as beautiful as the rather brash scarlet and chocolate on their upperwings. Look at the delicate tracery of sky-blue, the hint of crimson, the way the different shades of cream and cocoa and coffee blend. What a splendid creature! And then, as if to prove me wrong when I said that no one liked the much brighter buddleia in the back garden, this beauty turned up.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

The underside of this one is even more magnificent, but what impresses me is that this butterfly has quite possible arrived from Morocco – it’s a long -distance migrant that travels in search of thistles to lay its eggs upon, and ‘breaks out’ every so often when food in North Africa becomes scarce. Some butterflies then make the journey in the opposite direction. This one was so fresh that it actually made me gasp. My husband might have got a picture of it with its orange wings open, providing a contrast with the flower that my Mum would have loved (she always did love magenta and tangerine together). If so, I will pop it into the post. 

And finally, on the way to the shed to top up the bird feeder (yet again – the squirrel has been busy as usual) I disturbed a creature which flashed tomato-red at me before landing on the yew. This is my first Jersey Tiger of the year, the Vulcan bomber of the moth world. This is a moth that used to be all over the place, but is increasingly common in the south of the UK and will no doubt move north and west as fast as climate change will allow.

Jersey tiger (Euplagia quadripunctaria)

And here’s a little view of the underside. It reminds me of a stained glass window.

So, here’s to feeling better. There’s nothing like a few days of mild misery to make one appreciate not only how great it is when you no longer have a headache, but how hard it must be to live with chronic problems, and what a special strength it takes to keep going and to make something of a rotten situation. And thanks to all of you for your concern, it really means a lot, and has certainly kept me going!

3 thoughts on “A Lepidopteran Feast

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Goodness! But I suppose the meadows of Switzerland would be an ideal spot for tiger moths of all kinds. I wish you’d send me a swallowtail though 🙂 or an apollo moth would do if you can’t manage it 🙂


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