An abundance of butterflies this summer in the Sierra

MT. ROSE, Nev. (KOLO) - The California Tortoise Shell is pretty to look at. Every spring the butterfly comes to the Sierra from Central California to mate.

This year romance must have really been in the air.

Take a look at the pathways and meadows and you can't miss their offspring.

“The butterflies, the butterflies, oh my god they are everywhere,” says Marsha McBride.

“The butterflies as you are walking they are flying away from sitting on the pathway. It is like a symphony of butterflies,” says Lisa Carowma.

“Symphony of butterflies I like that,” says Mary Levine.

The three women were hiking in the Mt. Rose area when we caught up with them.

Just about everyone we talked to on the path had something positive to say about the butterflies.

Locals say they don't remember the last time they were in such abundance.

According to the state etymologist, this year isn't necessarily record breaking.

“No, it happens every once in a while where we have higher numbers than unusual,” says Jeff Knight, Nevada State Etymologist. “They are up there all the time every year. But we have a higher population this year,” he says.

Knight says the migrating females lay their eggs on tobacco brush or snow brush.

The offspring, spring forth in late July.

They tend to hang out for a while which is evident up near Mt. Rose.

This year there may be more than average.

But it's the kind of natural spectacle that high country hikers document saying they've run into millions of the butterflies.

We don't know why this year's numbers may have surpassed last year's.

But what we do know, they will head to the foothills by September where they will hibernate, and head back to the Sierra next spring.

The California Tortoise Shell can live up to 10 months as adults.

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