Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Red Admiral

Large numbers of Red Admirals visit our shores [Britain] every year from mainland Europe, [starting out from North Africa and, Southern Europe] but they are also known to hibernate here during the long winter months. Red Admirals can be seen in any month of the year even during the winter. When, on an exceptional warm day, having been awoken from their winter sleep by the heat of the sun, they can be found flying just about anywhere, especially in the south of Britain.

Red Admirals really start to emerge in good numbers from their winter slumber in early spring. Both sexes are alike and love basking in the sun on both the ground and on vegetation with their wings fully open.

Opened winged male Red Admiral basking in the sun

Closed winged female Red Admiral

Male Red Admiral aberration, Bialbata [one white spot on each of the orange bands on the
Butterfly's forewings] which are commonly found.

Once mated the females start laying their eggs [ovum] on the upper side of fresh, small leaves of Nettle plants [normally leaves towards the bottom of the stem in the spring] in a sunny position. The earliest dates i have witnessed ovum being laid was on 16th, 19th, 25th March.

Red Admiral ovum on a fresh/small Nettle leaf

Freshly laid ovum

On one occasion on 20th July 2016, i witnessed a female ovipositing on a female Nettle flower which is quite unusual, [on the 23rd July 2013 i witnessed a female Comma also lay an egg on a female Nettle flower, so maybe commoner than i originally thought with both Red Admirals and Commas at this particular time of year]. The eggs hatch after about a week. They have 2-3 broods a year depending on the weather, with the final brood overwintering as an adult.

Red Admiral's ovum on a female Nettle flower

Red Admirals feed on an enormous variety of flowers both in the garden and in the wild. And in late summer the flowers of Ivy and rotting fruit, [especially Apples] are visited.

Female Red Admiral feeding on Ragwort in the height of summer

Male Red Admiral feeding on Ivy flowers late summer

Adult males like a lot of other male species of butterflies, can also be found taking salts/minerals from damp ground, Horse droppings and, even discarded empty Snail shells after Song Thrushes have made a meal of the occupants.

Male Red Admiral taking salts/minerals for a discarded Snail 's shell

Friday, 2 September 2016

Clouded Yellow

These photographs depict the same male Clouded Yellow.

Found late afternoon, early evening whilst it was feeding on this Thistle.....

...when the sun disappeared, it went to roost on the same Thistle...

....early morning the male Clouded Yellow is now covered in dew and,
possibly ice after a cold night with a clear sky.