Pensioner's home invaded by 'beautiful' red butterflies

Shirley Moverley with her blooming ivy, which has flowered for the first time in 50 years and is attracting butterflies to her garden
Shirley Moverley with her blooming ivy, which has flowered for the first time in 50 years and is attracting butterflies to her garden

Shirley Moverley isn’t getting in a flap about these latest visitors to her garden.

Because the Shevington pensioner’s home is currently playing host to an very welcome invasion of Red Admiral butterflies.

Red Admiral Butterflies take over Shirley's garden

Red Admiral Butterflies take over Shirley's garden

The creatures suddenly descended on the garden of Mrs Moverley and her 76-year-old husband David’s Prince’s Park home last week.

Green-fingered Mrs Moverley, 77, says the winged visitation coincided with the unusual and unexpected flowering of an ivy bush in her back garden.

“There has been up to 30 of them at any one time flying around the garden,” said the retired Shevington High laboratory technician.

“It is beautiful to see, it really is.

“We’ve had the ivy bush for about 30 years and nothing like this has ever happened before. It is just so wonderful.

“This year, and I don’t know why, the ivy bush has bloomed these little rosettes of green flowers and that is what seems to be attracting them.

“They love them and they can’t seem to get enough of them. It must be delicious to them. They’ve been here for more of the week. I don’t know for sure why they’re coming to us but it is so lovely that they are.”

Red admirals are among the most common butterflies in western Europe.

The Observer’s Nature Notes columnist, Graham Workman, said the sudden influx was due to a combination of factors.

“It is when the ivy gets mature that butterflies are attracted,” he said.

“The flowers are very nectar-rich and that is what is attracting them but the ivy bush will only flower after around 30 years.

“You also need a warm autumn day as well for the butterflies but when it is they really are a spectacular sight.”