Tag Archives: Painted Lady

View of a resting orange butterfly with black and white markings

Painted Lady. Photo: Clive Hill

Clive sent us this photo of the first Painted Lady he has seen this year – he found it very late in the day on Thursday, 07/05/2020 sunning itself in the undergrowth on the heath land around Broadstone Golf Course.

View of orange butterfly with black and white markings resting on the ground.

Painted Lady. Photo: Roger Hewitt

Roger sent us this photo taken on 03/04/2020 with the following comments:

I found this very early Painted Lady this morning just below Culpepper’s Dish and it makes you wonder if some are over wintering.  Its not been cold this year, and of late there have been strong northerly winds which wouldn’t help the Painted Lady. Just a thought – would love to know what you all think.

Having consulted our Dorset BC Recording Officer and Chairman, they advise that it is very difficult to have any certainty about the origins of this Painted Lady. They are not supposed to survive the winter unless there has been little or no frost.  One famous example (thought to be in Devon), was a Painted Lady which had been marked in late summer & emerged safe & well the next year. Research showed that the area was in a pocket free of frost.  There have been early migrations in the past but there appears to be little evidence of this so far this year – according to the main BC website the first one recorded this year was in Gloucestershire on 21/01/2020.  In West Dorset one year a large number were found early in the year but further research established that they had been living specimens dumped from a commercial home breeding kit which had probably been kept in too warm a place.

Does anyone know if there are there any likely pockets protected from frost near Culpepper’s Dish which could have sheltered this Painted Lady over winter?

View of 3 different species of orange and black butterflies on green Ivy plant

Red Admiral, Comma and Painted Lady. Photo: George McCabe

George sent us this photo he took on 06/10/2019 when he was walking on the Old Coach Road from Upwey to the Ridgeway. He added that there were plenty of Red Admirals about together with Painted Ladies and Commas and also a Peacock which he tried hard to get into the photo as well.  The butterflies were all brought out by the warm, sunny day and like so many found the Ivy a great source of nectar.

View of two butterflies on a pink flower - one orange and black and the other red with white and black eye spot markings.

Peacock and Red Admiral. Photo: Shona Refoy

View of two butterflies on pink flowers - both orange and black but one also with white wing markings.

Painted Lady and Comma. Photo: Shona Refoy

Following a recent very productive butterfly visit to Kingston Lacy Kitchen Garden,  Shona wrote in to tell us that she went back there again on 02/10/2019 and on a Eupatorium in the corner found the favourite nectar source where she saw 1 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Large White, and at least 2 Peacocks and Commas just on this one plant. Shona has sent in these photos of some of them to share with us adding that she loves photos of non-matching pairs of butterflies – with results like these we can understand why.

View of orange and brown butterfly on lilac coloured Buddleia flower

Painted Lady. Photo: David and Frances Lonsdale

David and Frances sent in this photo taken on 20/09/2019 of a rather tatty Painted Lady which they tell us has been in their garden for a few days.  It has spent it’s time re-fuelling on Buddleia and despite it’s condition has still been capable of strong flight – this is one determined butterfly battling to survive for as long as possible.

Painted Lady, Hengistbury Head

View of an orange butterfly on heather

Painted Lady: Photo: David Wareham

David writes “I was at Hengistbury Head on Thursday 10/08/2019 photographing reptiles there. As I walked through the heather I was flushing Painted Lady butterflies in their dozens, possibly five or six with every step. Just in an area the size of a tennis court there must have been four to six hundred. It was an amazing and magical sight and one I’ve never witnessed before”.

It really has been an incredible year for Painted Lady’s with sightings in most areas of the county – they have been wonderful to see this summer in such quantities.


Small brown butterfly  with orange spots and a white fringe around wings

Common Blue .Photo: Luc Mitchem

BLack, orange and white buitterfly resting on a gravel track

Painted Lady. Photo: Luc Mitchem

Luc went for an afternoon stroll in Smokey Hole Lane, Dorchester on 31/07/19 and sent us these photos of a female Common Blue, and one of ten Painted Lady butterflies which he saw there. On this photo the Painted Lady appears to have ‘eyes’ to warn off predators, not always so noticable when viewed in the field.

This a lovely example of a female Common Blue, showing the blue basal flush and a clear pattern of spots around the wing borders.

Orange black and white butterfly nectaring on Buddleia

Painted Lady. Photo: Paul Godier

When Paul sent us this photo of a Painted Lady taken at Boscombe Cliff Gardens on 1/08/19 it seemed a good idea to post it to the gallery immediately after the Painted Lady aberration photo, to show the difference between them.

Paul commented that he saw at least a dozen in the gardens that day, nothing like the numbers arriving on the East Coast or further North, but nonetheless lovely to see.