A mass migration of historic proportions has arrived in Ontario and Quebec in the last couple of days. The migration consists primarily of Red Admirals (see photo), and numbers of more than 100 per minute have been documented moving through some sites. This mass of butterflies will likely reach the Maritimes today (perhaps they are already in western NB). If they don't arrive today they will be here with the next warm weather system.

If you observe movements you are encouraged to submit your observations to eButterfly (ebutterfly.ca). Of particular interest is the time of your initial observation. eButterfly is trying to accurately document the leading edge of this migration. Also of interest is an estimate of the number of individuals moving through an area per hour, as well as the direction of the movement.


As always, please also try to get a photo or specimen so observations can be included in the Maritimes Butterfly Atlas dataset.



John Klymko
Director - Maritimes Butterfly Atlas



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Hi John,

While out doing farm chores between 5-5:45 pm , three different Red Admirals (my first of the season) literally zoomed by (aided by strong tail winds) heading essentially north. I watched each one and none of them even stopped to check out the water or the various mineral sources in the pastures here... The only other butterfly I have seen this season is Mourning Cloak, on four separate occasions and at three different locations.

I got a good response to my request for Red Admiral records from yesterday - thank you everyone who posted records so far. Below is a summary of the records I have received:


April 17:

Saint Leonard, NB: 1 Red Admiral, 3 other butterflies, all migrating (Roy LaPointe).
Miramichi, NB: 1 Red Admiral, around 12 noon (Pam Watters)
Mary's Point, NB: At least 2 Red Admirals and 1 American Lady at Daphne, 1 Red Admiral flying northeast, first observation in early afternoon (David Christie)
St. Martins, NB: 15 Red Admirals at Daphne, and 2 or 3 Painted Ladies (Jane LeBlanc)
Fredericton, NB: 1 Red Admiral and a Northern Spring Azure seen over a 45 minute period over the lunch hour (Dwayne Sabine)
New Horton Ridge, NB: 10-15 butterflies (either Red Admiral, American Lady or Painted Lady) flying rapidly to the northeast (Stuart Tingley)
Sackville, NB: 3 Red Admirals over a 10 minute period around noon (Kate Bredin)
Cape Jourimain, NB: 4 Red Admirals (Becky Whittam and Leanna Bachur)

Pelerin, NB: 3 Red Admirals between 5:00PM and 5:45PM, all flying north (Denis Doucet)


Amherst, NS: 4 Red Admirals between 4:00 and 4:30PM. All but one flying very rapidly northeast (John Klymko and the attendees of the NS DNR atlas workshop)
Halifax, NS: 1 Red Admiral, found freshly roadkilled at 1PM (Karen McKendry)


Morell, PEI: 1 Red Admiral (Becky Herson-Petersen)


April 18:

New Glasgow, NS: 1 Red Admiral at 12:47PM (Eleanor Parke)



It appears Red Admirals are present throughout New Brunswick. I can`t say really how widespread they are in PEI and NS, but given the lunchtime record from Halifax it would appear they are pretty widespread there too. Also, I haven't heard of any records from before April 17, meaning most, if not all the Red Admirals present in the Maritimes arrived yesterday!


Thanks again everyone for your reports,
John Klymko

Director - Maritimes Butterfly Atlas



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