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.
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.