Butterfly Tidal Wave?

Red admiral. Photo by Laurence Livermore, Wikimedia Commons

A red admiral landed on my window this morning, so I went outside in hopes of seeing the “tidal wave of butterflies” sweeping northward this spring. Within a half-hour’s walk I saw three, not exactly a swarm.

My mother, who lives north of Buffalo, e-mailed on Tuesday, “Big red admiral migration in Kenmore yesterday, made the news.” So it makes sense that the wave would be reaching the Adirondacks now.

Keep an eye out for medium-size brown butterflies with bright orange bands and white spots. They are swift and jumpy in flight, but I got a good look at one slowly pulsing its wings as it puddled on a dirt road. You can track or report sightings on

A snowstorm shaping up early next week may cause problems, but entomologists seem to think a lack of flowers and other complications of early migration won’t put a big dent in such a large population.

Another migratory butterfly, the monarch, is beginning to move north from its winter grounds in Mexico. Sightings of orange-and-black butterflies are being reported in Texas, but they are not expected in the Adirondacks for months.

Update: my sister-in-law just called (2 p.m.) from Lake Clear: 20 red admirals in her driveway.

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