My first butterfly of 2021

Winter always drags, but this year’s been worse than ever. Lockdown 3.0 was imposed just after Christmas, meaning that – other than a weekly trip to the supermarket and an occasional stroll around our suburban estate – we’re confined to Platypus Towers. No chance of a swift visit to a bird reserve on a fine day, and thanks to the regular visits of local cat Milky Bar, only birds with suicidal tendencies visit our garden. It’s a pretty miserable existence, and the lousy weather makes things worse.

But after several days of wintry conditions we wake up on 22 January to a dazzling morning, the sun blazing from a cloudless blue sky. We sit ourselves down in the garden room – which faces south – intent on making the most of this meteorological anomaly, when to our amazement a butterfly appears. It settles on the window ledge, just a metre away from us on the other side of the double glazing, and soaks up the rays for about 20 minutes before moving on again.

The Peacock is a spectacular and unmistakeable butterfly, and takes its name from the vivid pattern of eyespots that decorate all four wings. It’s one of just a handful of British butterflies that overwinter as dormant adults, hunkering down somewhere sheltered during the darkest months in readiness for an early start to the breeding season when spring arrives. However, as we discover today, even in the depths of winter a relatively warm day may rouse Peacocks and encourage them to take to the wing.

I’ve been interested in butterflies since I was a little kid, but have never spotted any this early in the year. And never have I been more grateful to see one of these magical insects: the last 12 months have been tough, and it’s good to be reminded that the beauty of nature will still be there for us to enjoy when the Covid restrictions are finally lifted.

* * * * *

In 2020 I saw my first butterfly around 6 March, and described it as a “symbol of hope in the darkest of days.” You can read my reflections about the symbolism of butterflies by clicking here.

20 comments

  1. Laurie Graves · February 10

    Such a beautiful butterfly! Wish we had them in Maine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 11

      Yes, beautiful, but somehow it seems too exotic for England. It wouldn’t look out of place in the tropics.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann Mackay · February 10

    I hope it found somewhere warm enough at the end of the day! There seemed to be more peacocks around here last year – a welcome sight!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 11

      Yes, we saw quite a few. Always a welcome sight amongst the Large and Small Whites, which are by far the most common butterflies here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ann Mackay · February 11

        The large and small whites are really common here too – wish the other butterflies were as successful!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Platypus Man · February 12

        Agreed!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, Another Blogger · February 10

    That butterfly is absolutely incredible. And, by the way, I like your phrase “birds with suicidal tendencies.” See ya!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 11

      Thanks. Because it’s fairly common I suspect many Brits take it for granted, but it wouldn’t look out of place in the tropics.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mike Powell · February 10

    Wow. A butterfly in January is amazing. We have some butterflies that overwinter with us, but I have never seen one come out in mid-winter. I love the colors and patterns on your amazing Peacock butterfly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 11

      Hopefully it bedded back down again pretty quickly. Last night parts of the UK had their coldest temperature for 25 years – no weather for butterflies!

      Like

  5. shazza · February 10

    How lovely. Meant to be nice again tomorrow, though very cold here. Will keep looking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 11

      Very cold here too. No butterflies, and even the wood pigeons are wearing thermal vests 🙂.

      Like

  6. krikitarts · February 10

    What a lovely surprise on a surprisingly-lovely morning. It must feel really good to be able to stretch cramped wings and soak up some early sunshine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 11

      Yes, though I doubt that it found a mate also on the wing so by sunset it was probably feeling more than a little frustrated!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Steve Gingold · February 12

    Yowzers! That’s quite a high point to start the year. Gorgeous butterfly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · February 12

      Yes, it’s spectacular, and fairly widespread across the UK … though not in January, of course!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. rajanisingh885721172 · February 24

    Beautiful blog

    Liked by 1 person

  9. sinharishika · March 2

    Absolutely beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

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