Shetland has a very small butterfly list; only 13 species have reliably been recorded in the islands! Of these, eight are classified as vagrants (Small White, Green-veined White, Clouded Yellow, Monarch, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Camberwell Beauty and Common Blue), with only a handful of records of each species ever, although Common Blue was perhaps a localised resident many years ago. Of the remaining five species, Large White is the only true resident, and usually the commonest butterfly in Shetland, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell are scarce immigrants, with only one or two records a year on average, and Red Admiral and Painted Lady are regular immigrants, sometimes in large numbers. During mid to late June 2019, Shetland saw a good arrival of both Red Admiral and Painted Lady, aided by a period of warm southerly/south-easterly winds. Red Admirals are partial to rotting fruit, particularly apples and bananas, whilst the Painted Lady is very keen on flowers such as chives, as can be seen from the photos below which were all taken at Bakkasetter on 23rd June 2019.
Red Admiral feeding on a rotting apple at Bakkasetter (C) Rob Fray
Painted Lady enjoying the flowers of a chive at Bakkasetter (C) Rob Fray