Journal archives for April 2019

April 11, 2019

Red Admirals Arriving in the Upper Midwestern U. S. and Southern Ontario

As I was writing here last month, I’ve been following the enormous Painted Lady migration that’s been occurring in California and the Southwest since late January to early February. While this migration continues northward, it’s now also time to turn more attention eastward as wind and weather patterns have become favorable for Red Admirals and American Ladies to migrate northward into the upper Midwest, the eastern states, and southern Ontario. Painted Ladies may be arriving in our area somewhat later this spring, perhaps from the west, or perhaps from a smaller population that overwintered in Texas.

Red Admirals have arrived in the upper Midwest, and are already here in Iowa – they seem to have come with the warm southerly wind last Saturday, April 6, resulting in sightings in central Iowa's Story and Boone Counties on that day. They were also spotted in Omaha, Nebraska on April 2, and in Kansas City, Missouri on April 5. Chip Taylor, the director of Monarch Watch, spotted his first two in Lawrence, Kansas on April 6th, while suggesting that Red Admirals could have arrived there a few days earlier. A first-of-the-season Red Admiral was also seen on April 8 in Kingsville, Ontario, near Point Pelee National Park.

Since yesterday, it's likely that any further northward Red Admiral movement will be literally stopped cold (at least temporarily) by an enormous low-pressure system passing through the northern Great Plains, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. This storm has brought us two days of high winds in central Iowa, and heavy snow in states to our north. To our south, temperatures were in the 60s F in southern Iowa and in the low 80s in Kansas. Under these conditions, any additional Red Admirals arriving from farther south might stop migrating and accumulate in these areas, resulting in a sudden increase in the number present.

Posted on April 11, 2019 17:02 by iowabiologist iowabiologist | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 30, 2019

Painted Ladies Migrating in Southern Oregon - April 21 - 25+

There was an extensive northward migration of Painted Ladies in southern Oregon from at least between April 21 to April 25, 2019. Three different observers recorded migration rates ranging from between 68 northward in 2 hours on April 23 to 300 northwestward in 15 minutes on April 25. These butterflies are likely part of a second generation that originated farther south somewhere in California. From other reports I've received, conditions in California and southern Nevada have been so favorable that two generations of Painted Ladies grew and thrived there on an abundance of nectar and larval food plants.

Posted on April 30, 2019 19:29 by iowabiologist iowabiologist | 1 comment | Leave a comment

Two Red Admiral Migration Waves in Upper Midwest and Southern Ontario

Red Admirals continue to become more abundant in the upper Midwest and southern Ontario, despite several intervening interludes of cold weather. They migrated in on days when warmer, moister air was flowing up from the south. The first of two migration waves occurred on April 15-16, resulting in an abrupt increase in both butterflies and observers noticing them for the first time this year. Locally, I observed Red Admirals flying consistently northward on the 16th, as well as a threefold increase of Red Admirals in territories late that afternoon, as compared with a previous survey a week earlier. After a cooler period, a second and perhaps larger wave arrived in various parts of the Midwest from April 21 -24, again resulting in a further increase in the local population. Observers in Minneapolis, southern Wisconsin, southern Michigan, and southern Ontario reported large increases in Red Admirals, and some substantial northward migrations occurred in southern Ontario, raising the question of whether Red Admirals were actually crossing Lakes Erie and Ontario.

A subsequent period of cooler weather has quieted their activity recently, with far fewer seen during a local survey on April 29th than during a previous one on April 23. Whether this is due to the butterflies sheltering from the cool weather or to an actual decrease in numbers remains to be seen.

Posted on April 30, 2019 20:16 by iowabiologist iowabiologist | 0 comments | Leave a comment