With our warming climate I often see butterflies in all 12 months of the year. I was on course for this again in 2023, but failed on the final hurdle, with no UK sightings in December.
2024 started, and it was starting to look as though I would actually fail at the first hurdle, as up until the 26th I hadn't seen any at all. Even more frustrating as Matt had actually seen one on January 1st!!
On Friday, the 26th, Lisa was heading over to mine for a trip out in the sunshine to hopefully see some Bearded Tits. While I was waiting for her to arrive, I loaded up the car with the camera gear along with wellies and coats etc, and then decided to clean out the bird feeder. Whilst cleaning the feeders I suddenly became aware of a couple of Red Admirals flying around my head. Yay, at last, a butterfly sighting.
It then became much, much better though, as they landed on the wall of the house and then joined up to mate. Now, Red Admirals are very rarely seen mating at any time of the year. Obviously they do mate, as they are a common butterfly, but they must do it very discreetly normally. It is even rarer for a winter coupling and this could even be the first time its been photographed in the UK during the winter??
My first photo of this event was all done in a bit of a panic, as of course the camera was in the car already for the trip out. Even worse was the macro lens was upstairs in the house. I very quickly took a photo on the mobile, just to make sure I had some evidence, and then raced to the car and upstairs to get both the camera and lens I needed.