An invasion of the most beautiful kind.  After several days of torrential rain we have had some dry spells.  I had been noticing several Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies passing through the garden, not stopping, heading northwards.  Today was lovely and sunny (showers now).  We had to go out in the car and during the drive of some twenty miles hundreds of these gorgeous insects were flying across the road.  When we got home they were in the garden in good numbers, this one enjoying the catnip.DSC_0215aDSC_0254a

Every once in awhile here in Europe we experience these ‘Painted Lady years’.  Millions of them migrate out of north Africa and head our way.  They stop and breed en route and the offspring continue the journey.  Come the autumn the second or third generation in this country then start heading back south, they cannot survive our winter (yet).

This species is also found in America.  Earlier this year I heard they had also had a mass migration in places like California with countless millions heading through.

35 thoughts on “Invasion

  1. Northern California, here. Yep, we had a large migration of Painted Ladies several months ago. It was a delight, particularly since we see fewer butterflies of any sort here on the northern coast compared to the interiors.

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  2. Nice shots. They are pretty common where I live but not in huge numbers. I think the California migration you mentioned was the one large enough that it showed up on radar.

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  3. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for these ladies next time I’m out and about. Been seeing a few species of Butters around the flower beds, but haven’t had the time to switch out the big glass for the macro. Crisp shots as usual!

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  4. What a perfect one to land on your Catnip!

    Here in Nevada last weekend while my girl-friend and I were out in the boonies of BLM land looking for Wild Mustangs there were thousands of some kind of Butterfly that we would flush out when passing in the car. We stopped a few times trying to get an image or two, but they’d fly out and not come back close enough for an image. I did manage to get one image, but though I thought they might be Painted Lady’s they seem too dark. I’ll have to post one and see if you can help me out.

    There were thousands of them!!

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  5. It’s a very beautiful Butterfly and as always you captured them so that their beauty are really emphasized. I used to see a lot of them on our roof terrace but now, when most of our plants are gone, I find them in a nearby park. A few days ago I went there and I saw hundreds that flew around among the flowers, same flowers that we used to have on the terrace. I just couldn’t stop taking photos and came back home with almost 300 images! But that is quite normal.. 😁
    Thank you for sharing these lovely images Brian!

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    1. Hi Candace,
      Butterflies and bees both in fewer numbers here in our Northern CA coastal garden. Everyone I talk to says the same. The skippers just started showing up this week.


  6. although i bet a buncha butterflies had fluttered past me when i lived in CA, i cant remember how any of them looked

    guess i hadnt stopped to smell the roses long enough then

    great photos!

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    1. Big thanks for dropping by! Some people miss out on a lot by not noticing nature but when they are shown what they are missing really enjoy it. These butterflies are still making the national news here in the UK, it’s been called a once in a decade event. The new generation are feasting in my garden!

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