Teresa Morris: Currently there is a spectacular phenomenon of nature underway as reported by Butterfly Conservation. Millions of long distance migrant Painted Lady Butterflies are passing right across the United Kingdom proving to be one of the largest migrations in decades. The butterflies have originated from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, where a good germination of the caterpillar food-plants followed heavy winter rain.
The arrival of these on Islay have been recorded in recent days and a resident of Islay has kindly submitted some photographs of them seen near Loch Gruinart. An abundance of them have been seen in gardens and also pasture fields containing thistles on north Islay. Thistles provide Painted Lady with a nectar source for adults and a larval foodplant.
You can identify these butterflies by their orange-brown wings with black and white spots on forewing. Their undersides are mottled brown with spots. Butterfly Conservation is asking for the public's help to track the migration by logging any sightings online. Why not take part in the Painted Lady Count by spending a couple of hours monitoring butterflies in your garden or when you are out and about on Islay. These important records will contribute to Butterfly Conservationâ€™s first ever mapping project for the arrival, spread and departure of migrant insects online and will help them to track the impact of climate change on migration. You can take part in this survey by clicking on this link. Why not have a go!
The Painted Lady Butterfly