We Have Been Invaded By Butterflies

Our backyard was ground zero for a huge butterfly migration today. Here is stunning wide-screen, Dolby-enhanced, Technicolor proof:

OK, fine, it doesn’t look all that impressive. But there were lots of them! And they were definitely on a mission, with no dilly-dallying. My back-of-the-envelope guess is that the entire flock must have included a million butterflies or more.

I’m not sure what kind they were, but they were kind of smallish and had black and orange markings. What kind of butterfly migrates north through Orange County near the Ides of March?

UPDATE: The LA Times has the story:

Those black-and-orange insects that seem to be everywhere you look in Southern California aren’t monarchs and they aren’t moths. They are called Painted Ladies, and these butterflies are migrating by the millions across the state.

The migration itself is nothing new. Painted Ladies set off from their wintering grounds in the Mojave and Colorado deserts of southeastern California as winter gives way to spring. They travel roughly the same path every year, flying northwest to Sacramento en route to Oregon, Washington and beyond. (They’ve been spotted as far north as Alaska.)

What’s unusual this year is the number of two- to three-inch butterflies making the journey. Scientists say there haven’t been this many Painted Ladies traversing the state since 2005, when the population climbed to about 1 billion.

So there you have it.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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