The Southern California region and its residents are no stranger to beautiful vistas. There are coastal mountains, wide sandy beaches and incredible ocean views abound. It would be quite difficult to improve upon the already stunning scenery, but a few new visitors have done just that.
Actually, a few million new visitors have made this area all the more beautiful. There is a butterfly migration passing through Southern California right now. The painted ladies butterflies, black-and-orange colored insects easily mistaken for monarchs, are en route from their winter abodes.
Every year in the spring, these butterflies follow a similar path between their winter and summer habitats. First, they set out from Mexico and the Mojave and Colorado Deserts in California and head northwest. Then, they ultimately fly to their destinations in Oregon, Washington and even as far north as Alaska.
Some years, when the butterfly population dwindles, they fly under the radar, and residents hardly notice them passing by. Other years, like 2019, the butterflies travel in such massive numbers that they simply can’t be missed. According to scientists, this is the most abundant painted ladies migration since 2005.
So, what is it like to see these lovely painted ladies in your neighborhood? People who have walked, biked and driven in their presence have described the experience as magical. In fact, some have even said it makes a traffic jam pleasant.
See for yourself with these butterfly videos and photos captured throughout Southern California.
Front row seats to the painted lady #butterflymigration! #butterflies #paintedladies #Irvine #OrangeCounty pic.twitter.com/4w55GfF8VT
— South Coast Research (@UCSouthCoast) March 12, 2019
These 2- to 3-inch insects are simply picture perfect, as Dina shows in her snaps shared on Twitter.
A few pics of the Painted Lady butterflies that are passing through SoCal right now. 🦋😍 #paintedladies pic.twitter.com/5sg0JFPqz6
— Dina (@soundstruck) March 12, 2019
Staring out at the ocean has never been so beautiful. Jessica tweeted this video of her flyby in the South Bay.
Southern California friends: I just sat on the beach in the South Bay for two hours while 1,000s of butterflies flew around and past me. What kind are they? What is happening? #butterflies pic.twitter.com/n1IrEaBy0D
— it’s Jess. (@loveheylola) March 11, 2019
The uptick in painted ladies is also a positive sign amid years of bad butterfly news. During the last few decades, butterfly numbers have been dropping to historic and catastrophic lows recorded in 2018.
We hope they just keep flying — we can’t get enough of these gorgeous photos!