Long Awaited Peak Migration

October 10, 2019 by Team Journey North

A continuous flow of monarchs.

“…[monarchs] steadily passing by from 10 AM to 4 PM…The few that did stop on the flowers only stayed a few seconds before they were on their way again.” Photo by: Kevin (Locust Grove, OK; 10/08/2019)

Monarchs Streaming Across the Kansas and Oklahoma Skies.

Journey North citizen scientists have reported a big push of monarchs into Kansas and Oklahoma. Indeed, the “butterfly front” was caught on weather radar and made the national news in the Washington Post. 

From Edmond, OK: Patrick submitted this report. “The long awaited peak has arrived…Using binoculars, I observed a continuous flow of monarchs, most of which were not visible to the naked eye…continued using the favorable winds, the procession lasted through the last available light. Finally, at sunset (7:08), in the deepening shade of dusk, a few drifted down to the waiting trees for a night’s rest…The following, much cooler morning, and only with binoculars, the procession was again noted against a cool, drab gray October sky. (10/05/2019)

From Walton, KS: Linda reported, “When the wind direction shifted from west to northwest shortly before noon today, we saw monarchs on the move again, streaming overhead, along with hawks and dragonflies. In 10 minutes we counted 220 monarchs heading/blowing south/southeast. (10/05/2019)

First Roosts in Texas and Large Roosts Reported in Colorado

Kress, TXMarlin and Connie described, “a continuous stream of monarchs still coming in. We have 7 acres of land much of it covered with many different trees. [About 1000 monarchs roosting.] Next morning (10/06) low temperature was 50 degrees today. Wind was 4-7 mph out of the northeast. Monarchs started warming up at 8:00 am and moving around some. By 9:00 am they started heading south. Most of them were gone by 10:30am…” (10/05/2019)

From Wiley, CO: Samantha described, photographed and created a lovely video of the “amazing, unique experience” she witnessed. There were so many monarch that she had a hard time counting. (09/30/2019) 

Migration Continues Across Blue Ridge and Along Atlantic Coast

Monarchs soaring through the sky. Along the coast the wind seems favorable to flight. In the Blue Ridge mountains, monarchs persist even in fog and a strong headwind.

From Waynesville, NCSherilyn ”started driving the Blue Ridge Parkway at 11 am this morning to find Monarchs…fog completely engulfed the area…drove back down to Licklog Ridge Overlook, about mm 436 at an elevation of 4602 feet [and there encountered] flyovers that were definitely working hard because they were flying directly into a south wind…I counted 276 at this site from 1:30-2:00 pm. They were trickling through 2-5 at a time. Hoping the wind shifts tomorrow. (10/07/2019)

From Atlanta, GA: Sarah saw “dozens overhead over the course of the afternoon…some very high up…It’s been a very active and exciting day!! (10/08/2019)

Monarch Tagging

Thousands of citizen scientists across North America tag and release monarchs every fall through Monarch Watch. Monitoring migration and tagging butterflies are great complementary citizen science efforts. 

From Mc Dowell, VA: Virginia reported, “I counted fifteen in 15 minutes bucking a south wind to fly south. Our students are tagging for Monarch Watch and were able to tag 4. Hoping to see and tag more today. I circled the three butterflies in front of the students.” (10/01/2019)

Western Monarch Population

Gail Morris has written her sixth fall report summarizing what is happening with the Western Monarch Population. Take a look at her article.