Return of the migrating species

Some birds head towards south to spend the winter and return in spring. Birds, however, are not the only animals with such a behavior. Not all butterflies are capable of overwintering in a freezing environment. They must find a milder climate. The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and the Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) are probably the best known migrating butterfly species in Europe.

Only a couple days ago warm air streams brought the first migrating individuals to Finland. Well, by individuals I should probably also say it’s not just a couple. These butterflies come in masses. Despite of the bad luck I had photographing the butterflies that I sighted, I had a great moment today.

Walking the baby buggy of our twins I kept one eye on the surrounding. I spotted a Red Admiral. That individual was the 3rd I saw this spring. The moment I stopped walking I also realized it was a female, flying to lay eggs. I observed one stop she took. Then I had a closer look at the leaf of the nettle, and there it was. A fresh, tiny but vital egg was placed on top of a nettle leaf, the food plant of this species. I couldn’t resist to grab the leaf to get a close-up at home.

Time to start raising a Red Admiral. The very same species I also brought from caterpillars to adult butterflies last summer.

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