Winter-weathered wings - a Yellow Admiral butterfly

A happy sight - a Yellow Admiral butterfly (Kahukowhai in Maori) feeding on the blue flowers of Echium candicans.  It is just spring but the wings of this individual look worn and weathered - the Yellow Admiral are quite long-lived butterflies and some overwinter, as I imagine this one has. 

The large spot on the wings is usually yellow - hence the name - but this one looked white to me, maybe bleached by weathering.  The Yellow Admiral (Vanessa itea) is a New Zealand native also found in Australia, Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands.  It is a strong flier, thought to often make the crossing between Australia and New Zealand over the Tasman Sea. 

This one was taking its time on a rather wind-flattened flowering stalk, visiting the little blue flowers and having a good drink with its long black tongue.  So I was able to get close up.

Showing the rather hairy face and body and warm colours of the upper wings - the under wings are a duller and more intricate pattern, but the position and lighting meant that they cannot be seen in these photos.

While I have plenty of nectar bearing flowers in my garden, providing food for the butterflies, I don't have the food that is required by their caterpillars - native or introduced nettle plants.  Not the most welcome addition to a garden!  But people are planting them to help restore the populations of Yellow Admirals, which are under threat from introduced wasps, insecticides, loss of habitat - the usual suspects.  Perhaps I had better source some nettles...