Day of the Painted Lady

Today we were out for a long walk with my parents and our kids. On our way home from the playground an increased number of Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui) was flying. I wanted to use that moment to give our daughter Sienna a close-up.

It’s not easy approach a nervous butterfly, especially for a two year old child (she’s turning three next month). Attracting butterflies with flowers, or watching them right after hatching would be much easier. Nevertheless, it turned out we were pretty lucky today.

While we were after one of the Painted Ladies it took a quick rest on a Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense), the food plant of its caterpillars. I couldn’t help myself taking a good look at the leaf it sat on for a couple seconds. I almost missed it, but then I spotted the egg. For the second time this summer I observed a butterfly laying eggs. Exactly two weeks ago it was a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta). That caterpillar has, by the way, almost reached a size of 1.5cm so far.

Reviewing the photos afterwards I also identified Sienna and me were chasing two different Painted Ladies. One, the female laying the eggs, had its wings in pretty good shape. The other clearly suffered more. I’ll have a look at the same field in two weeks. Maybe I’ll find a couple more caterpillars.

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