Well, there I was leaving a message on my friend Catherine’s answerphone when I saw something flutter into – and straight out of – our garden. A butterfly?!? I dropped the phone and flew out of the house in my slippers, grabbing my camera en route, and went on the hunt of the could-it-possibly-be-a-butterfly.
And lo and behold, in our neighbours’ back garden, I saw that it very definitely was a butterfly. A Red admiral. (I had assumed it would be a Peacock, as they tend to be the first ones I see each year. But that’s usually around April. Last year, for example, my first Peacock sighting in the garden was on 16 April.)
The very-definitely-a-Red-admiral was fluttering around and then came to rest at the top of our neighbours’ white back door. I tried to get a photo, but it was gone again before I could get in very close.
Off it fluttered, and off I followed, round the fronts of other neighbours’ houses. It stopped now and again at the top of white window frames, and eventually I managed to get a picture. It’s not the world’s best photograph by any manner of means, it does prove that I did just see a Red admiral, at 13:45 on Wednesday 21 February 2007.
The reason I say it does prove it is that I tried to enter the sighting on the UK Phenology Network website, and they said it was too unusual a sighting to enter on their records till they’d checked it out!
Interestingly, the Red admiral was the last butterfly I saw here last year, on 30 November, which you can all about it at my Surprise Visitor post.