12th July. I have just aborted a walk down to the lake this evening having found the sky filling with thunderous looking clouds. I was reminded of the heavy downfalls on Saturday. I may still make it if it blows over. My walk down the garden path was fruitful however as I found my first Painted Lady Butterfly of 2011. Unfortunately by the time I had my camera in hand 'the lady' had fled. Perhaps it too wanted to avoid getting soaked. A quick look at the migration map on the Butterfly Conservation website seems to suggest that Painted Ladies are about in some number now, but as I say, it is the first one I've spotted this year. It seems 2010 was a poor year in Britain for this butterfly.
Oddly enough I had just been thinking of Painted Lady Butterflies. My mind had being playing tricks and i was thinking it was last year when they were around in great numbers. In fact having checked it was actually 2009. Doesn't time fly? The Painted Lady Butterfly is a long distance migrant. In some years millions appear in Britain and in some other years relatively few appear. Another good year with millions of this species appearing was 1996. I think it was 1967 that only 100 records of this butterfly occurred. I seem to remember that much depends on conditions in the mountains of northern Africa where the Painted Ladies initially lay their eggs. There still seems to be a vague picture as to the return migration of the Painted Lady Butterfly, but it is now thought they may make a return migration around the period of September. The height of their flight may account for this return not being seen.