Red Admiral butterfly found on Chipman Hill in Middlebury

If you have spent any time at all outside in the past month or so, you must have noticed all the little brown and orange butterflies around. They are Red Admirals and they are seemingly everywhere right now. A combination of good breeding conditions last fall, a March warm snap and favorable winds have brought these butterflies to our area in record numbers. Butterfly enthusiasts and experts have been throwing around words like “unprecedented,” “epic” and “mega” to describe this flight.

I started seeing them in April and have had plenty of opportunities to take pictures of them, however the peak for me came last week when our Lilac bushes were blooming. Any time I looked at them there half a dozen or more Red Admirals on the flowers. They were coming in on a steady west wind, nectaring on the flowers and then flying away out of sight. This continued repeatedly all day long over two days amounting in what must have been many hundreds of individual visits the bushes.

– Ron Payne