Crossing into Mexico

October 25, 2018 by Elizabeth Howard

"Las mariposas entrando a México!!" came the cry on Saturday afternoon as monarchs streamed across the sky above the US/Mexico border, flying high and low by the thousands.

“Monarch Butterfly Union of Three Nations,” says a sign along the highway near Cuatrociengas, Coahuila. By Stephen Howard

      The Final 500 Miles

      After being stalled by rain and cold for over a week, the weather finally cleared and the monarchs set sail. The action began quite suddenly on Saturday afternoon, October 20th.

      ¡¡La ola migratoria de mariposas monarcas ya está entrando a México!!! En este momento están entrando a Cd. Acuña, Coahuila las monarcas. Los observadores están contando 30 por minuto en vuelo alto.” 🇲🇽 

      “The migratory wave of monarch butterflies is entering Mexico now. At this moment, the monarchs are entering Ciudad Acuña, Coahulia. Observers are counting 30 per minute in high flight.” 🇲🇽   

      The migration’s leading edge will now be moving along the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains on the final 500 miles of the journey. Thanks to Rocio Treviño and her network of observers for sending news from this region - and for sharing their enthusiasm:

      “Ahora si como dice la canción de Chayane ‘Oye abre los ojos mira hacia arriba y disfruta las cosas buenas que tiene la vida.’”

      “Now, as Chayane’s song says, ‘Open your eyes and look up; enjoy the good things that life has.’”

      Major Monarch Highway

      Two geographic features are compressing the monarch’s flight-path now, the Gulf of Mexico and the Sierra Madres Mountains. The Sierra Madres form a chain of north/south peaks and valleys that stand in the path of the easterly winds which predominate at this time of year. As the winds strike the ridges, the butterflies get a free lift. The monarchs seem to follow the mountain chain at this stage of the migration. See map of the migration pathway in Mexico.

        Just Think…

        Millions of monarchs are flying across the continent toward their winter home, a tiny spot on the planet. They’re traveling to a place they’ve never been. Look at them moving down the map toward their destination.

        Watching and Waiting in Angangueo

        The first monarchs are expected to reach their winter home any day! Traditionally they arrive by November 1st, Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

        “The arrival of the monarchs symbolizes our ancestors’ souls returning to Earth for their annual visit,” says Estela Romero. “We will keep alert to give you the great news when monarchs arrive to overwinter with us this season!” Estela has assembled a monitoring team of children throughout the community.