Spring has arrived here in Iowa, and so have the butterflies, including Red Admirals. After the last three years with low numbers, it’s now looking like 2023 is going to be a more active, abundant, and exciting year for Red Admirals. I’m still not sure how the Painted Lady population will develop this year, owing to the unusually intense and variable weather in California this past winter.
Red Admirals are now arriving in the upper Midwest, following two strong and very stormy weather systems that transported warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico into our area. Red Admirals arrived soon afterward, with the first report from Omaha, Nebraska on April 4. I spotted my first ones here in Ames, Iowa on April 7. It’s likely they were here sooner, perhaps as early as March 31, but it was difficult to tell because cold weather followed each of the two frontal passages. Since then, I’ve started receiving more reports from around the upper Midwest.
As always, I’m seeking not only first sightings of Vanessa species, but also sightings of migrating butterflies and sightings throughout the season.
-- Royce Bitzer, April 10, 2023