It's been a week for long-lived Monarchs. On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning British Monarch. Also on Wednesday, only nine days into the official start of spring, I came across this beauty sunbathing amongst the blossoms.
Monarch butterflies usually live for only two to three months and it's far too early for this one to be from this year's crop. Most likely it's an over-winterer - a late autumn butterfly that has hung out in a cluster waiting for spring. Because their metabolism slows in the cold winter months, they live for much longer than the summer butterflies, waking ready to mate and lay their eggs. It must be a good day for old Monarchs.