Journey South News: Fall 2009

Posted Thursdays: Aug. 27, Sep. 3, 10, 17, 24, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5....or weekly until the first monarchs arrive in Mexico!

FINAL Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: November 12, 2009
The long journey south is coming to a close, as millions of monarchs reach the winter sanctuaries in Mexico. People point to the sky as they welcome the butterflies. "¡Bienvenidos monarcas!" they say in Mexico. This is a time of celebration! Imagine the stories these butterflies could tell. Each began life as a tiny egg. Think of the challenges they've overcome and the distances they've traveled!
Image: Felipe Martinez, RBMM
News Flash: Monarchs Reach Winter Home in Mexico!
This news just in: The monarchs arrived in large numbers yesterday at Mexico's winter sanctuary region. The news was announced by biologist Eduardo Rendon. "Today, all of the roads that lead to the Monarch Reserve are full of butterflies." We'll be back next week with our final migration update of the season. Meanwhile, picture millions of monarchs flying across the finish line as they complete their long migration. Congratulations, monarchs!
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: November 5, 2009
We expect to have news any moment that monarchs have arrived by the millions at their winter home in Mexico. There they'll spend the winter--together--in an astonishingly small region. What conditions make the habitat in this region ideal for monarch survival? In this week's slideshow, find out what scientists are learning about the unique microclimate of the monarch overwintering region.
Image: NASA
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: October 29, 2009
For the past week, monarchs have been crossing northern Mexico in higher numbers than have been seen for years. Across which Mexican states do the monarchs travel in Mexico? Explore a map of the probable migration pathway and see why Dr. Calvert says it's "delightfully confusing." This week's slideshow features the holiday people in Mexico celebrate at this time of year, as the monarchs arrive.
Photo: Rocio Trevino, age 10.
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: October 22, 2009
Monarchs are crossing northern Mexico by the thousands now. From her state of Coahulia, Rocio Trevino observed 3,200 monarchs per hour. What does the landscape look like in northern Mexico? This week, take a tour of the migration trail with the pictures on Google maps.
Photo: Rocio Trevino
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: October 15, 2009
Monarchs are on the move in Texas and Arkansas, but it has been curiously quiet in northern Mexico. Are the monarchs late or traveling a different route? High migration rates were reported on the Atlantic Coast. Why did a Florida Gulf Coast sighting raise questions? Also this week, explore migration patterns across the Southwest United States. Where do you predict a monarch in Arizona would go for the winter?
Photo: Marceline Vandewater
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: October 8, 2009
Monarchs were moving down the Atlantic Coast this week in the largest numbers of the season. A second wave moved has out of the Great Lakes and down the Ohio River Valley. All are headed toward Texas then into Mexico. Our reporter at the overwintering sites says everybody's watching and waiting! Meanwhile, this fall's most frigid tempeartures are spreading across the continent. How does temperature affect fall migration? Find out!
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: October 1, 2009
The geography of our continent is clearly steering the migration now. Butterflies from east to west must cross the southern Great Plains as they head toward their entry point to Mexico. Texas is the gateway state. Look at a map and see its central importance. This week, scientists announced a new discovery: the monarch's navigation system is based in the antennae! Explore the mysteries of monarch navigation. Photo: Elizabeth Howard
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: September 24, 2009
A clear wave of migration moved into Mid-Atlantic States this week, and monarchs are traveling an unusual pathway in the Great Plains. What caused this change and what will happen next? Also this week: Read true stories about tagged monarch butterflies and explore what tagging reveals about monarchs and their amazing journeys. Photo: Tom Murphy
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: September 17, 2009
The monarchs cruised into Kansas this week. Samual counted 1,018 monarchs in 1 hour and 20 minutes, all headed south. "It was totally amazing!!!" This week, learn how standard units of measurement help us make sense of migration data. Read this week's observation reports from citizen scientists and see how to count monarchs per hour (or monarchs per minute). When you report your own monarch observations, don't forget to tell us how long you were watching!
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: September 10, 2009
Look at the animated migration map and you will plainly see, the monarchs are moving toward their winter home in Mexico. This week's southernmost roost was reported in Kansas, only 1,350 miles from the finish line. Also this week, what can you learn from a single sighting on a bridge over Lake Michigan? What does the map of Great Lakes sightings reveal? Notice how observations lead to questions. This is one of the values of citizen science.
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: September 3, 2009
Spectacular roosts were reported in Nebraska this week. With tens of thousands of butterflies, they were the largest yet of the season. Both roosts were found beside blooming alfalfa fields, a welcome source of nectar for migrating monarchs who are traveling through a sea of cropland. Early arrivals continue to be reported from the south. Also being sighted are Queen butterflies, a Monarch relative and look-alike. Can you distinguish a Monarch butterfly from a Queen?
Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: August 27, 2009
The migration to Mexico is underway! Please help track the monarch's journey. Watch for monarchs that are flying, resting and refueling. It's only August, but people are reporting clear signs of fall monarch migration. Why do you think monarch migration begins now? Why don't the monarchs stick around for the last weeks of summer? When, where, and how will monarchs find the habitat they need to survive? You're about to find out! Photo: Vincent Burrola

Welcome and Orientation
Beginning Thursday, August 27th, weekly FALL MIGRATION UPDATES will be posted here every Thursday, from September to November. (See schedule above.)
Get ready to track the migration to Mexico. Find out how to report your sightings and track the migration on real-time migration maps. >>