Bird's Eye View of Bute

Painted Ladies. Orange Tips

Painted Lady 1
Painted Lady 1
Painted Lady 2
Painted Lady 2
Painted Lady 3
Painted Lady 3
Painted Lady 4
Painted Lady 4
Painted Lady 5
Painted Lady 5
Painted Lady 6
Painted Lady 6
Female/ Male  Orange Tip 7
Female / Male Orange Tip 7
Orange Tip 8
Orange Tip 8
Male Orange Tip 9
Male Orange Tip 9
Orange Tip 10
Orange Tip 10
Orange Tip 11
Orange Tip 11

 

Painted Lady

Another of our friends that flutter past us on a bright summers day.

What's in a name? Here we have a lovely butterfly that comes to us with the name, 'Painted Lady'. That name will cover the female of the species, but what about the male? Does it have the name, 'Painted Gentlemen'? No it also comes under the same name as the female. It is the same with the Peacock variety, will the female be known as the Pea Hen? Once again. No. Although all Birds, Butterflies, insects etc, have their own name in Latin, which is in use all over the world,e.g, a Painted Lady is called “Vanessa cardui”, but in other countries, it may have an entirely different local name than we know it as. Which means that, If we are in contact with a person, that could be at the other end of Britain, or the other end of the earth, we would use the Latin names all the time, so that we can be sure that we are talking about the same species.
This weeks butterfly comes to us from the Mediterranean from July to September, although some may arrive in the spring and lay eggs, and the resulting caterpillars from these eggs can be found on various types of thistle, but they rarely survive the winter if they stay here. Then in the autumn the migration starts again and they may be seen heading back from whence they came in great numbers.
The upper wings are marbled pinkish buff, white and black, and the underwings are buffish in colour with the same pattern as the upperwings.


We are very lucky on Bute as we get a good variety of butterflies during the season. Much better than farther north of Scotland. Take for instance, in the Sunday Post Recently a man from Elgin, wrote in to say that he had just seen a rare visitor to his part of the country. A Female Peacock Butterfly, which was resting on a purple hebe in his garden, and the last recorded sighting was in N.E. Sutherland in August 1969. Then in the following weeks Sunday Post, another person has had four of them in his garden for the last three years and he was only forty miles south west from Elgin as the “crow flies”, (straight lines, as opposed to the fluttering of butterflies)
Well if he lived here, he could have seen hundreds of them this year. A lot of the species that we see here do not venture far north, so we are very lucky. But ! on the other hand. They may get more rare birds that get blown of course from the America's by the Atlantic storms etc, than we get, so it's the swings and the roundabouts scenario once again. To see “A First” which is your first sighting of a bird that you have never seen before, gives you a big lift, and you can then tick that bird off in your book. But, sitting beside a bush which has many butterflies on it, and they sometimes land on you, also gives you a big lift, and they can be fooled by you if you paint one on a piece of paper and place it on your hand, you may get a few interested ones landing on you briefly. It does not matter if your artwork is not up too scratch, all you need is the right size and plenty of colour. That will soon attract them. I have even seen one landing on a young ladies sandal that had a transfer of one on it. That would have made a good photo, but it was a lot quicker than me, and flew away. You can also pluck a flower off it's stock, and wait patiently for one to alight on it. A nice way to spend a few hours on a warm sunny day.

Norrie Mulholland
First published in the Buteman 2004

This summer 2010 we had thousands landing on Bute and breeding, with Creeping Thistle being the main plantfood, so many caterpilars were to be found, and later on in the season, fresh new Butterflies.


Orange Tip

Here is another, “ hard to get with a camera” photo of a male Orange Tip butterfly. I have only seen them on Bute a few times in the last few years, and they have eluded me time and time again when I tried to get close enough to get a image of them.

The first time that I saw them was at “lovers walk”, at it's westerly end, when several of them appeared on the 9th of May 2001. I got plenty of photos, but the butterfly was far too small in them for you to see properly, so I had to wait till this year when I came across a single male near Kerrycroy. I followed it for ages before it landed, then it took of again before I could get close enough to it, but perseverance paid off,after crawling through bushes and whins it eventually stopped for a rest, and now you see it!
The male has an orange patch on a dark-tipped forewing, which is absent on the female, in fact, the female is grey and white and justs looks like a slender cabbage white so you may have seen them without realising what they were. The undersides are marbled green and white which may help you identifying them if there are no males present.
My books on these tell me that they are only common in Southern England and Ireland, yet I have seen plenty of them in the Fort William area,(no camera with me) so I think that the books will need to be re-written, yet the one that I am reading was printed in 1997 which is not that long ago. It is good to see any new insect or mammal or bird for the first time, and then checking up in the books to see if you can find them,and identify them . It then makes it all worth while, so if you have a chance of acquiring some books to train on, go for them, so that if you spot something different, you may be able to identify it immediately as you have memorised so many pages,and hopefully you will retain that knowledge?
As I write this article, I have been wandering around my usual haunts and I have now seen three males on the Loch Fad road at the Chapelton Woods area, and also along the Scoulag Moor, I have seen another male, so it looks like we have once more likely to have another good year for them, and for us if you like butterflies.

Norrie Mulholland


First published in the Buteman 2005

This summer 2010 was a great year for the Orange tip with lots of them being spotted all over Bute.


Pagehits: 1664 (Today: 1)