Butterfly on bark chip
© All rights reserved (by me the photographer - Dr. David J. Otway)
Gotta like those colours. It's a Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io).
When we lived in cambridgeshire in 2003-2005 we used to have dozens of these beauties living in our garage and this one popped out one day for some fresh air, I saw it whilst out having a crafty smoke, ran inside for the camera and luckily he/she/it posed very nicely for me on the bark chippings we'd laid around a path.
From the wikipedia.
The European peacock, or simply Peacock (Inachis io) is a well-known colourful butterfly, found in temperate Europe and Asia. It should not be confused or classified with any of the other butteflies known as "peacock" in the Anartia genus of butterflies. It is the only member of the genus Inachis. The species is resident in much of its range, often wintering in buildings or trees. It therefore often appears quite early in spring.
The butterfly measures about 5 cm (2 in) from wingtip to wingtip and is easily identified by its striking eye pattern on a ruddy background, although with wings closed the cryptically coloured dark underwings make it look like a dead leaf. The eyespots are reminiscent of those on the feathers of the peacock, hence the name. The eyespots are exposed when the butterfly is disturbed by a potential predator (such as birds) in an antipredator display in which the butterflies flick their wings open and make a hissing noise. The open wings create a false perception of another predator (note how a glance at the image can give the impression of a cat staring) and the effect is strong enough to deter the predator from eating it.
The butterfly hibernates over winter before laying its eggs in early spring, in batches of up to 500 at a time. The caterpillars, which are shiny black with six rows of barbed spikes and a series of white dots on each segment, hatch after about a week and feed on nettles and hops. The adult butterflies drink nectar from a wide variety of flowering plants, including buddleia, sallows, dandelions, wild marjoram, danewort, hemp agrimony, and clover; they also utilize tree sap and rotten fruit.
The Peacock can be found in woods, fields, meadows, pastures, parks, and gardens, and from lowlands up to 8,200 feet elevation. It is a relatively common butterfly seen in many European parks and gardens.
Made the most interesting picture of the day list on 26th Oct 2004 - got to as high as no. 2 at one stage.
Also was for a while (starting 24/11/05) the most interesting "butterfly" tagged picture on flickr :-)