Magical Appearances explores how swifts and swallows magically appear each spring and how complex and beautiful insects like butterflies suddenly arrive in the summer.
Swifts and Swallows
The discovery of the swallow’s epic migration isn't without controversy and forms a scientific story cloaked in mystery.
Olaus Magnus, a 16th Century Swedish Bishop, drew a picture depicting fishermen dragging nets full of swallows out of the water. This developed into a common opinion that swallows hibernated through the winter under water.
However, research conducted by Edward Jenner and further studies in bird ringing established a view of birds migrating each year, something which was previously hard to grasp before the days of easy worldwide travel and location technology.
Painted Lady Butterflies
The revelation that caterpillars could metamorphose into adults is something that took years to work out, especially when beautiful butterflies look so strikingly different.
This however, didn't answer the question as to where painted ladies appear when their caterpillars are nowhere to be seen. Could these diminutive insects migrate across the English Channel as birds were found to do?
Again, the advent of modern technology helped to establish the idea of butterfly migration, but it wasn't this that was most remarkable.
Painted lady butterflies undertake a migration in stages, with different generations completing successive legs as the move from Africa to the UK and back again.