Butterflies starting to hibernate

10 October 2013

I know I said I’d share more photos of the butterflies I saw in early October in the next post, but I must just show you this – it amused me.

First the close up:

Peacock butterfly wings closed

Peacock butterfly

Now, where it was:

Peacock outside back door

Peacock outside back door

I’ve got a theory that he knew this was a butterfly-friendly household and was waiting to come in to spend the winter in comfort!

That’s only a joke – the house would not be a good place for it to spend the winter, it would be far too warm. The majority of butterflies in the UK spend the winter as eggs, caterpillars or pupae, but a few go through as adults, including the Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Brimstone and Red Admiral. If you find a butterfly in your house during the winter, there is some good advice on what to do with it here.

It’s not the only Peacock looking to hibernate I’ve found this week, either. I was potting up some plants in the greenhouse recently, and got a stack of empty pots from my outside store. I took one of the (black) pots and poured a handful of potting compost into it; as I did so, my brain went “hang on a minute, that looked butterfly shaped”, and sure enough, when I tipped the earth back out, a somewhat disgruntled butterfly was revealed. It seemed unharmed, so I put it in a  sheltered spot; hopefully, in the next sunny spell it flew off and found a new hibernation site.

Moral – when you are working in the garden at this time of year, keep a good look out for butterflies and moths tucked in odd places. It’s a good idea to watch out for them on the caterpillar and chrysalis stage, too…

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