Did this painted lady butterfly survive the winter? Readers’ nature queries
Ethna Viney on peregrine falcons, sparrowhawks, kestrels and yellowhammers
Painted lady butterflies were spotted by two readers
I was very surprised to see this painted lady butterfly on February 23rd in my garden. Irishbutterflies.com says that it’s a migrant from Africa in June and that they have not been known to survive the Irish winter. – Gill Boazman, Rosscarbery, Co Cork
On February 26th I saw a painted lady butterfly here. I wondered if it just arrived or survived the winter. – Tom Dwane, Meadowvale, Limerick
The painted lady normally arrives from the southern Europe or north Africa in late May or June. There are two possibilities for its appearance in February: that it overwintered, or, that it was carried here on the warm current of air we experienced from the Iberian Peninsula.
This sparrowhawk visited my allotment in Ringsend Park recently and has been a regular visitor to the allotments. – Tom Curtis, Fitzwilliam Quay, Dublin 4
I watched this peregrine take 30 minutes to kill and pluck a pigeon, which it took under a dense shrub and spent up to two hours feeding on. – Stephen Butler, Palmerstown
I was lucky to see this kestrel hovering over Dollymount Strand recently. – Darlene Everitt, Drogheda, Co Louth
What attacked this oystercatcher, which I found on grassland behind the dunes at Bunduff Strand? – Heather Wood, Cliffoney, Co Sligo
It was a peregrine falcon. They and other birds of prey go to the shore in winter to prey on seabirds.
These beautiful yellowhammers arrived to feed on the seeds that the fussy blue tits toss from the feeders. I had not seen them for long time. – Ann Doran, Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford
Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at email@example.com. Please include a postal address.