Strong Painted Lady migration observed just east of Yosemite yesturday

Paul Cherubini monarch at
Sun May 4 20:21:19 EDT 2003

I was driving north of Bishop, Calif. yesturday on highway 395 and encountered
a strong migration of the Painted Lady butterfly between 6,000-7,000 feet 
elevation at about 10:30 - 11:00 am in the morning when the shade temperature 
was only 47-48 degrees F and there was a strong wind blowing out of the
NW at about 20-25 mph. The butterflies were flying WNW into the wind,
just inches above the ground.

Approximately 3-7 butterflies were seen per minute.  Some had been hit by
cars as they crossed highway 395 so low to the ground

Further up highway 395 in the vicinity of Deadman Summit (elevation
8,041 feet) the migration continued despite a shade temperature of only
42 degrees F.
Approximately 1 Painted Lady per minute was seen at a spot
just short of this summit. 

The west and northwesterly flight of these Painted Ladies would take
them over the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and down into
central California where the migration has been sizable since
early April.  Whereas in past years the Painted Ladies in central Calif.
(both east and west of the Sierra crest) moved in a range
of northerly directions (NW to NE), this spring the direction of migration
has been more to the WNW, with almost none flying N or NE.

An amazing 7-10 feet of snow fell on the central Sierra Nevada during the
month of April and the snow continues to fall now in early May

Homes and cabins above 7,000 feet in the Lake Tahoe region and
9,000 feet in the Yosemite region remain buried under 7 - 11 feet
of snow as of today. This photo was taken yesturday, May 4, 2003 at Echo 
Summit (elev. 7,300 feet) in the Lake Tahoe region
Paul Cherubini
Placerville, Calif.


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