Painted Lady butterfly. | Neville James-Davies

Everywhere I go at the moment I am seeing Painted Lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui). This is the most I have seen of this migrant for a long time. Just recently I took a drive to Cap de Formentor to where the road is blocked off just before the lighthouse, and I explored the little headland there, where I counted at least a dozen flitting about. It was also nice to see Pallid Swifts here, and a Blue Tit in the Cistus bushes, a bird found at altitude on Majorca, not like in the gardens back home. Wandering around Alburcutx Tower, Son Real beach and the Albufereta Marsh all saw good numbers of Painted Lady's with some Brimstones mixed in too. Flying up to 30mph, these strong fliers migrate from North Africa into Europe, and can cover up to 100 miles a day. They are the world's most widely distributed butterfly and are often called Thistle Butterflies, due to Thistles being their preferred food plant. As lovely as it is seeing and hearing the birds, it adds to the scene when there are butterflies present in good numbers as well.

Male Kentish Plover
Male Kentish Plover.

The resident Kentish Plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus) have been very active too, and I was watching several pairs in particular from the Bishop 1 Hide at the Albufera recently, where I witnessed the threat posture that waders can display. A pair of Avocets with two chicks wandered too close to the nest, so the male started to feign a wing injury, in an attempt to lure the intruders away from the nest. It moved about purposefully but looking like it was indeed injured, and once satisfied that the Avocets had passed and would not be a danger, he re-joined the female who was sat on eggs close by. It was great to watch, and something I had only ever seen on the television.

Kentish Plover feigning injury
Kentish Plover feigning injury.

Another male Kentish Plover from the CIM hide near the reception, was displaying leg rings, so it had been ringed as a chick somewhere. I submitted a photograph and the details to a wader study group and I am waiting for a reply as to where it was ringed and when. I will keep you posted if I get that information back. Charadrius comes from the Greek word 'klarada', meaning a ravine, and the specific name is geographical, and refers to the city in Egypt.

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