The Painted Ladies Are Fluttering By

Have you seen the marvelous migrating butterflies passing through your neighborhood? The sight is full of spring and zing.

Marcia Straub

What to Know

  • The migratory butterflies have been spotted in the desert and LA over the last few days
  • They're heading north from Mexico
  • Check in at iNaturalist to find all sorts of recent butterfly and animal sightings

If you happened to be standing under a tree, near a shrub, in the vicinity of some flowers, or anywhere under the sky in the middle of March 2019, you likely saw some Painted Lady butterflies.

And when we say "some" we do mean a lot, as in a veritable swarm, an on-the-move cloud of ethereal, don't-blink beauty.

It was a big year for Painted Ladies, or Vanessa cardui, if you prefer, and the millions of winged insects garnered deserved headlines and ruled photo-rich social media pages.

The swarms of 2019 are not yet evident in 2020, but take cheer, for Painted Ladies have been seen in good numbers in the desert resort cities, around the Inland Empire, and in Los Angeles, too, as March 2020 comes to a close.

True, we're following the #SaferatHome edict these days, in order to stem COVID-19, but if a flutterer out your window caught your eye, you may have just seen a Painted Lady calling upon your home.

The butterflies are on their way north from Mexico, but they do grace we Southern Californians with momentary sightings come March, if we keep our eyes duly peeled.

A good bet? Take a look at iNaturalist, where all sorts of butterfly sightings are reported each day (as well as sightings of other critters, too).

On March 31, Painted Ladies were seen in Thousand Oaks and Topanga Canyon.

Are you taking short neighborhood walks these days while mindfully observing social distancing? Be aware and be gladdened that visiting Painted Ladies are adding a bit of beauty to our spring, just when we truly need it most.

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