With Sunday's warm winds blowing out of the south-west, everybody was awash in Red Admiral butterflies.
It was all the talk of the list-serves. From the Ohio Lepidopterists in Toledo to the birders all across the state, everyone took note of the influx of butterflies. It would have been hard to miss them with the numbers being reported:
"Several things going on today. Red Admirals are numbering in the hundreds, everywhere, for one thing. (My count for the day is approx 340). There is a forum on www.Rarebird.org Lepidoptera, of several people have huge numbers today. Strong south winds and 80 degrees."
Dallas DiLeo reported from Presque Isle- Erie, Pennsylvania:
"Probably the most remarkable observation was the mass movement of Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) flying SW to NE. A conservative estimate of the butterflies moving past the watch was 25 individuals per minute making the total estimate of the count around 5500 butterflies!"
And our very own Dave Horn , President of Ohio Leps said...
"Because of all the posts regarding red admirals I thought I'd comment. The red admiral has periodically appeared in large numbers since the early 19th century. While there is no universally accepted explanation for these increases it seems most likely that they are related to high overwintering survivorship in the southern USA followed by favorable conditions for northward movement. This year we have had both a very mild winter (in Ohio and southward) and an early spring and I suspect the large numbers we are seeing reflect those weather conditions."
"What is that butterfly?"
This means more excitement than ever for our boardwalk at Magee Marsh! I will be looking forward to the Biggest Week in American Butterflying and hope you will join us for the Red "Admiral"-ation, and some pretty nifty warblers as well. I am counting down the days!
Keep your eyes peeled for the anglewings as well. We also noticed a large number of active Commas and possibly Question Marks. It would be interesting to know more about these "migratory" or rather emigrant butterflies from the south and south-west.