Through the years I have watched videos and marveled at photos of migrating Monarch butterflies. Usually each spring brings the Monarchs here in sparse numbers. It was always a hallmark of spring to see them flutter in for the first time. Following the appearance of the "local" hibernating butterflies, such as the Mourning Cloak and Compton's Tortoiseshell.
Mourning Cloak Compton's Tortoiseshell
This spring, an infestation of orange and yellow butterflies have literally painted the landscape. First, the Monarchs flew in on a howling south wind. Tens of thousands orange and black butterflies seemed to be everywhere. They were like Christmas tree ornaments, hanging on the blossoms of the pin cherry trees.
It seemed every wildflower that bloomed had a perched Monarch Butterfly.
It seemed not to matter where you walked or hiked in the arrowhead, the Monarchs were omnipresent. I hated to get in the car to drive anywhere, because they also dotted the roadways.
To make things even more colorful, another butterfly phenomenon occurred. The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies decided not to be outdone by the infiltrating Monarchs. They also flew in by the thousands, creating a butterfly spectacle never before seen in my lifetime... or by other old timers on the north shore.
Smaller versions of butterflies mingled with the large Monarchs and Canadians. Spring Azures and Red Admirals were also as numerous as I have seen them.
The Harris Checkerspot is like a miniature version of the Monarch, a particularly lovely butterfly.
One of my favorite tiny butterflies that just arrived is the Eastern Tailed-blue. It is difficult to tell the difference between him and the Spring Azure. I have seen many Painted and American Lady butterflies along with these colorful butterfly imitators, the Luna Moth.
More butterflies wait on the horizon, the fritillaries are now flying in, so I suspect the remainder of the summer will sport unending color.