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Sat Oct 7, 2017, 10:37 PM

Here is an ocean of butterflies, 70 miles wide, captured on radar over Colorado

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/10/6/1704785/-Here-is-an-ocean-of-butterflies-70-miles-wide-captured-on-radar-over-Colorado?detail=emaildkre

An enormous migration of painted lady butterflies was captured by a Denver weather radar. There are more images, which you can see on the Denver Star, and they are pretty extraordinary. It was so extraordinary that the first person to see the 110 kilometer (68.35 miles) spread wasn’t sure what he was looking at.
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OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 11: A Painted Lady butterfly rests on a flower April 11, 2005 in Oakland, California. The heavy rains that pounded California over the winter have resulted in bumper crops of both thistles and wildflowers throughout the state and are attracting millions and millions of migrating Painted Lady butterflies that lay their eggs on thistles and, as adults, avidly feed on the nectar of a wide range of wildflowers. The last similar migration was in the spring of 1992, which also followed a particularly wet winter. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) The painted lady butterfly

Paul Schlatter of the National Weather Service said he first thought flocks of birds were making the pattern he saw on the radar Tuesday, but the cloud was headed northwest with the wind, and migrating birds would be southbound in October.

He asked birdwatchers on social media what it might be, and by Wednesday had his answer: People reported seeing a loosely spaced net of painted lady butterflies drifting with the wind across the area.

Schlatter said the colours on the radar image are a result of the butterflies’ shape and direction, not their own colours.
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Short article. No more at link

34 replies, 10358 views

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Reply Here is an ocean of butterflies, 70 miles wide, captured on radar over Colorado (Original post)
WhiteTara Oct 2017 OP
eppur_se_muova Oct 2017 #1
WhiteTara Oct 2017 #4
SharonClark Oct 2017 #2
WhiteTara Oct 2017 #6
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #3
WhiteTara Oct 2017 #8
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #16
WhiteTara Oct 2017 #18
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #19
eleny Oct 2017 #21
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #25
eleny Oct 2017 #27
ProudLib72 Oct 2017 #33
eleny Oct 2017 #34
Satch59 Oct 2017 #5
WhiteTara Oct 2017 #7
The Velveteen Ocelot Oct 2017 #9
7wo7rees Oct 2017 #17
WhiteTara Oct 2017 #24
burrowowl Oct 2017 #10
Lucinda Oct 2017 #11
bleedinglib Oct 2017 #12
WhiteTara Oct 2017 #14
Jopin Klobe Oct 2017 #13
KG Oct 2017 #15
kentuck Oct 2017 #20
Blue_Tires Oct 2017 #22
WhiteTara Oct 2017 #23
rogerashton Oct 2017 #26
TuxedoKat Oct 2017 #28
WhiteTara Oct 2017 #29
TuxedoKat Oct 2017 #30
WhiteTara Oct 2017 #31
Hortensis Oct 2017 #32

Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sat Oct 7, 2017, 10:39 PM

1. Wish your sig line could be mailed out to every single US citizen eligible to vote. nt

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 7, 2017, 10:50 PM

4. Thanks. I wrote a column based on it.

it is an important statement, isn't it?

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sat Oct 7, 2017, 10:45 PM

2. We had so many painted lady butterflies a few weeks ago that when I pulled into the drive,

it was like being in a snow globe. Magical.

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Response to SharonClark (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 7, 2017, 10:51 PM

6. Wow! I bet that was incredible

We've had so many this year too. They've been flitting about our garden. Most of them are gone now.

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sat Oct 7, 2017, 10:46 PM

3. OMG! I have wondered all week why there were so many butterflies

They are everywhere around here! It's like walking through a butterfly sanctuary. Now I finally know what is going on. Thanks

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 7, 2017, 10:52 PM

8. Are you in Colorado too?

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #8)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 01:49 PM

16. Lakewood, CO nt

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #16)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 02:18 PM

18. That sounds so magical.

We had lots but nothing like a 70 mile wide migration.

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #18)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 02:24 PM

19. It wasn't just in my neighborhood

I went to work in Aurora (25 miles east), and there were dozens flitting around as I walked into my building. I does bring a smile to my face when I see them. I was also a little worried about them since it is fall (going to snow tomorrow), but now that I know it's a migration I won't worry.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #16)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 02:34 PM

21. We're just south of Crown Hill Lake here in north Lakewood

We've had dozens of them in the yard for a while now. They especially like the golden colored coreopsis and purple catmint perennials.

I'm worried about the dip in temps tomorrow with the low temp in the low 20s. Hope the butterflies can handle it.

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Response to eleny (Reply #21)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 05:49 PM

25. Just got back from Matthews Winters park

I was on the lookout for them. At first I didn't see many and was relieved at the thought they might have moved on. However, I did come across a large group of them later on. We just have to hope they can survive for a couple of days.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #25)

Mon Oct 9, 2017, 09:55 AM

27. We had way less flying around the yard yesterday

So you were by Dinosaur Ridge. It was a pretty day for an outing!

This morning is so bad out there. Young tree branches bowing to the ground. We'll learn the damage tomorrow. Hope you're doing okay where you are.

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Response to eleny (Reply #27)

Mon Oct 9, 2017, 05:40 PM

33. Just got home from work

As I was walking to my car in Aurora, I saw a butterfly victim on the ground. It looks like some of them did not make it out in time for the snow.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #33)

Mon Oct 9, 2017, 06:57 PM

34. Oh, no. Poor little one

So sad to find that. They all look so happy flitting around the gardens for weeks.

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sat Oct 7, 2017, 10:51 PM

5. Also in CO....it was awesome...

We had some snow which I thought would kill my flowers but they made it through and it was magical...butterflies on every flower!

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Response to Satch59 (Reply #5)

Sat Oct 7, 2017, 10:52 PM

7. Oh that must have been wonderful!

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sat Oct 7, 2017, 11:39 PM

9. It must have been a really good year for Painted Lady butterflies

because they were all over everybody's gardens this year (Minneapolis, MN). I'm a Master Gardener volunteer, and our listserv was all, "Are you guys seeing a gazillion Painted Lady butterflies lately?" I'd go out into the garden and they'd fly up in herds (Packs? Flocks? Gaggles?). They are around every summer but I don't remember the last time I saw this many of them.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #9)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 02:00 PM

17. Kaleidoscope

...is the term for a group of butterflies.

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Response to 7wo7rees (Reply #17)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 04:32 PM

24. What a wonderful term!

I love it!

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 12:23 AM

10. Thanks for link!!!!!!

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 12:50 AM

11. Cool!

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 12:57 AM

12. I live in

So. West Missouri & I'm preparing my yard to support Butterflies next season !!
All the pollinators we depend on feed on pollen producing plants !! Hummingbirds, bumble bees
just about any insect carries life producing pollen !!
Man is responsible for the damage done to our environment? We should do all we can to repair it !!! Enjoy the show

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Response to bleedinglib (Reply #12)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 12:33 PM

14. MO Conservation department

gives out seeds and plants. You should definitely contact them and get the plants and seeds native for your area because that is what the pollinators in your area like.

I started my garden 8 years ago and keep adding every year. I'm working on song birds for the next season.

Have FUN!

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 12:58 AM

13. (in a sing-song voice) ...

... "They know something we don't know ..." ...

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 12:35 PM

15. blue shifted

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 02:26 PM

20. I think they became "lost" during the darkness of the eclipse a few weeks ago?

Which was also about that wide?

Just my opinion. No scientific proof.

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 04:30 PM

22. Witchcraft, plain and simple

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #22)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 04:31 PM

23. Of course!

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Sun Oct 8, 2017, 06:11 PM

26. Not many in SE Pennsylvania this year,

and we have had our third year of few butterflies, including Ladies. Cool, wet springs, dry summers, I think. But I think the Vanessas must be pretty opportunistic. Vanessa atalanta, the Red Admiral, is a close relative, and I remember some years back -- well, getting on toward 20 years back -- when we drove to Arkansas in late summer and saw huge numbers of admirals everywhere. Some other years, very plentiful; others, as lately, not so many. Numbers of Ladies also fluctuate in our area, though not quite as much.

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Response to WhiteTara (Original post)

Mon Oct 9, 2017, 11:32 AM

28. Years ago

when I lived in St. Louis I looked up at my Sweetgum Ball Tree in the late afternoon and there were thousands of Monarch butterflies in it -- it was completely covered with Monarchs!!! This past summer and fall I have finally started seeing a Monarchs again after years of not seeing them. Hopefully they are making a come back.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #28)

Mon Oct 9, 2017, 11:38 AM

29. St louis is just off the main migration

path. If you can, add butterfly weed to your garden. They come in lots of beautiful colors and monarchs need and love them.

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #29)

Mon Oct 9, 2017, 11:47 AM

30. Sadly

I don't live there anymore but I will look into planting some Butterfly Weed in my new location. I do have a lot of Milkweed growing around my yard which I never touch or if I do I transplant it. I've never seen Monarchs or Monarch caterpillars on it though.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #30)

Mon Oct 9, 2017, 11:54 AM

31. Milk weed and butterfly weed are actually the same thing

so you've got it. Do any butterflies go to the plant? The Painted Ladies came before the Monarchs and ate the entire plant!

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #30)

Mon Oct 9, 2017, 12:13 PM

32. A little patch of butterfly weed down the hill has spread over the years to

almost as large at this suggests -- with some help from us, not bushhogging until well after it's gone to seed. It's not exactly rampant and it's also a host for Monarchs. Asclepias tuberosa grows and blooms from underground tubers so is slow from seed while the tubers develop and touchy to transplant, so buying smallish starts from a nursery can be a good way to go.



We also have Asclepias syriacus, "common milkweed," at the bottom of our little meadow, and it spreads rampantly underground. We like it, but then we're not doing anything else with that land.



I've read that Asclepias curassavica "tropical milkweed" is the Monarch's big favorite by far, but it has to be grown as an annual in most of the U.S.

Btw, relatively few Monarchs here in north Georgia, but one of our big yellow butterflies is migrating now, so almost every glance out the window shows at least one or two zig-zagging south, stopping briefly as flowers are spotted. Wild asters, salvias, sedums, butterfly bush, perovskia, goldenrod are some still in bloom for them now after a hot, lately dry summer in Georgia.

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