Look out for Painted Lady butterflies in 2015

What a surprise to see you yesterday – just as I was leaving the garden.
(runs for video camera) 52sec compilation with background music, try HD quality.

Yay… early evening and we meet in the garden again (runs for still camera).
It’s been 6 yrs, last sighting in 2009 during mass migration year here in UK.

“The painted lady migration is one of the real wonders of the natural world.

Travelling up to 1km in the sky and at speeds of up to 30mph, these small, fragile-seeming creatures migrate hundreds of miles to reach our shores each year, even though none of the individual butterflies has ever made the trip before.”


You look so small on the sunny rock, but with a wingspan of 6cm you are one of the largest butterflies here in the UK (shame your friend was camera shy).

Buddleja ‘Buzz Ivory’ has arrived in the garden since your last visit, a tasty evening drink (all Buddleja’s are a great food source for bees and butterflies).

Your circus act of hanging upside down looked like a practical solution in breezy conditions (loving the eyespots and marbling of your hindwings, so pretty).

Ta-da… you beautifully demonstrate that a real butterfly is a much better wall decoration than ornamental ones. Thank-you for decorating my garden
last night (wishing for more sunny evenings to see you again).

Catching sightings of butterflies for surveys like the Migrant Watch by Butterfly Conservation can be tricky as you need the right conditions for them to be out flying (best chance in sunny days without wind). Catching sightings in your garden is also based in you being in it to see them too. By providing food plants for butterflies you help them survive and have a better chance to enjoy their beauty in your garden.

So could 2015 be a good year for the Painted Lady butterfly? Will we see it visit in good numbers here in the UK? Well, seeing two in my Scottish garden yesterday might suggest so. If I had read a few news items, then I would have known to be on the lookout for it (British butterfly bonanza could see ‘painted lady summer and Fluttering back to Britain, millions of painted ladies: Distinctive orange and black marked butterflies expected to arrive from North Africa within weeks).

Perhaps other garden blogger’s have posted on this (sorry missed it) but I thought I’d give the thumbs up on looking out for the Painted Lady butterfly this year just in case you hadn’t heard and would like to see it. I also wanted to share my excitement at seeing it again by sharing images from my garden 🙂

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in August 2015.

4 thoughts on “Look out for Painted Lady butterflies in 2015

  1. What an absolutely beautiful blog post, I have learnt a lot! I will keep an eye out for more Painted Ladies, I did see some this week but this rain will hinder all our garden time this week!



  2. It is great to hear that the Painted Ladies are doing well this year. Maybe it is the drought that is giving them the conditions they prefer. How exciting to find one in your garden. I will be watching too.

  3. I've had several sightings recently (a post will be popping up very soon) but its good to know this species has reached so far north.

    Not sure we will enjoy the massed numbers of 2009 but any view is an enjoyable encounter in my book.

  4. Hello again to you all, thanks for popping by and leaving your comments 🙂

    Katie, thanks, I keep learning stuff too! Hope the rain stays away so you enjoy more sightings of this much talked about butterfly 🙂

    Lisa, It is, even if the numbers don’t make the same as back in 2009 they have found their way to Scotland again so there numbers must up from the last few years. I saw two again this evening (perhaps a third) I was delighted to watch them now I have recorded their visit with my cameras. Although… I do suspect my camera will be out again if they feed on different plants 🙂

    Frank, so I see (just popped over to your blog) and you got some great images from your sightings. Yes, I’m delighted to see this butterfly here and I agree – all views are special 🙂

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