Friday, 19 June 2015

Lovely lady

A quick second post for today because, to my great satisfaction, I've just had a successful stalk of a Painted Lady. Don't misunderstand me - this wasn't a red light affair (although I am used to such confusions; when I hunted moths in Sulawesi, Indonesia, I soon learned not to ask people for the whereabouts of 'kupu-kupu malaam', the word for 'moths', because it also means 'ladies of the night.')

No, my Painted Lady was the butterfly of that name, a beautiful immigrant whose arrival in large numbers this summer has been widely forecast.  Her flight is unmistakable, grandly superior to the various 'browns' and the Small Tortoiseshell, in the manner of one of the fritillaries, those aristocrats of the UK butterfly world.

Her colouring also resembles their tawny livery, but with her own distinctive tones of salmon pink. This morning, they took me straight back to the first time I saw a Painted Lady, in the Valley Gardens at Harrogate when I was eight years old. Younger readers may be reassured: the excitement doesn't fade, all these years later.

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