My photograph is the first UK image!!!
American Painted Lady Vanessa virginiensi
On the 20 September 2022, 2:30pm, me and Rob went for a walk in Nare Head on the Roseland Peninsula. This is one of our favourite places in Cornwall. On our way to the headland, we saw Lawrence Sampson and had a chat with him for a few minutes before we carried on with our walk.
There's quite a few butterflies and birds around. From the carpark to the headland, we saw:
I have taken photos of the butterflies and birds that we saw. Before I went to sleep that evening, I posted my photos in Facebook. The next morning, I have missed calls on my mobile, I have messages on my email, I have comments on my photos in Facebook. One comment catches my eye, a particular comment from our good friend Lee Slaughter - "Are you sure that this isn't the exceptionally rare Hunter's Painted Lady or American Painted Lady Rowena? Get this photo checked out urgently! I think it is an American (Hunter's) Painted Lady! PM me where you saw this please? Could be a 1st for Cornwall if it is!" I immediately checked my photos very closely one by one. Checked out Google and Wikipedia too. I was shocked and amazed. It suddenly dawned on me that the butterfly I thought was a Painted Lady was actually the extremely rare American Painted Lady Vanessa virginiensis. Wow, that's awesome. I could not believe my luck. Thanks to the sharp and discerning eyes of Lee. He is certainly the best in the butterfly world. It's also been confirmed by Peter Eeles from UK Butterflies.
This American Painted Lady Vanessa virginiensis was first seen in the British Isles in August 1828 at Withybush, near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire. My photograph is the first UK image!!!
I celebrated my 50th birthday this year. I thought I already received all the surprises from family and friends but seeing this butterfly is the greatest surprised ever.
This sighting of the American Painted Lady Vanessa virginiensi reminds me of my "Lammergeier, moment". I have been sooo lucky to be the "FIRST" one to have seen and photographed the "Bearded Vulture, also known as the Lammergeier or Ossifrage" in Cornwall in 23 May 2016. This bird is "FIRST" in Cornwall as well as "FIRST" in the UK.
Me and Rob are absolutely delighted and over the moon that we saw again another rarity in Cornwall. You'll never really know you might see in Cornwall. This Duchy is full of surprises.
Difference between an American Painted Lady and a Painted Lady
The chief difference, the one that is easiest to identify for most, is the tiny white spot on the American Painted Lady. It is located in the postmedian area of the forewing. In the corresponding area of the Painted Lady, no such spot will be found.
Another good identifying mark will be the eyespots in the postmedian area of the hindwings of both butterflies. On the upperside, they are quite similar in size for both. But on the underside, two large eyespots can be clearly seen on the American Painted Lady, whereas four are discernible on the Painted Lady and they are much smaller.
BBC Radio Cornwall
Western Morning News
Western Morning News, page 4
UK Butterflies Twitter Account
BBC Radio Cornwall Twitter Account
BBC Radio Cornwall Facebook Page
BBC Spotlight Instagram Account
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Images may not be used without the written permission of the photographer.