Monarch Arrivals To Non-breeding Habitats

October 24, 2019 by Team Journey North

So much to report...Monarchs streaming through Texas and into Mexico. Estela Romero's report from El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary in Mexico. Gail Morris' update on the western population of monarchs. Dive into this week's news update.

The Face Off. Photo by: Diana (Tucson, AZ; 10/10/2019)

Monarchs Stream Into Mexico Pushed By Air Currents

Millions of monarchs are flying across the continent toward their non-breeding habitat in Mexico. Thanks to Journey North citizen scientists in three countries and to Rocio Treviño and her network of observers, the Journey North monarch maps are alight with monarch observations. Keep looking at the Journey North maps to see the pathway monarchs take. 

The migration’s leading edge will now be moving along the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains on the final several hundred miles of their journey. 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.

Galeana, NLERogelio observed 300 monarchs during a 60 minute observations period and commented, “at “16:50 horas, por la carretera Linares- Galeana, en lo alto de la sierra casi llegando a Galeana, empujadas por una corriente de viento vi pasar 5 mariposas por minuto y también observé la formación de percha en un árbol.” (Courtesy of Correo Real; 10/18/2019) Link to report

[Translation: at 16:50 hours, on the Linares-Galeana road, high up in the mountains almost reaching Galeana, pushed by a wind current I saw 5 butterflies pass per minute and I also watched the perching on a tree.]

From Nadadores, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico: Yazmin observed about 200 monarchs who ”arrived yesterday at noon.” She snapped this photo in Celemania Coahuila, Mexico.” (10/20/2019)

From García, NLE: Elsa reported “Since 14th October I had counted from 1 to 6 monarchs each 10 minutes, but this morning there were many more monarchs flying from northwest to southeast, I counted 257 in 10 minutes, but they continued to pass by there for some more hours.” (10/20/2019)

From Aramberri, NLEManlio estimated 1500 monarchs migrating through his location (50 monarchs per minute during a 30 minute observation period). (10/18/2019) Link to report

From Juárez, NLE: Sergio shared this report, “16 monarcas por minuto desde Los Pinolillos a las 12:20 26 grados completamente nublado, volando a una altura de 10 metros o más. 12:30 aumentando 32 por minuto; 12:40…28/minuto; Ya no puedo contarlas…son cientos, volando a distintas alturas, la mayoría a más de 40 o 50 metros (12: 53) (Courtesy of Correo Real; 10/20/2019) Link to report

[Translation: 16 monarchs per minute from Los Pinolillos at 12:20 26 degrees completely cloudy, flying at a height of 10 meters or more. 12:30 increasing 32 per minute 12:40…28/ minute I can no longer count them…they are hundreds, flying at different heights, the majority at more than 40 or 50 meters (12: 53)]

From San Pedro Garza García, NLE: Roberta “saw aprox 500 -1000 Monarch butterflies at Parque Ecologico Chipinque Sierra Madre Oriental , San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.” (10/20/2019)

Activity Along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico

From Isle Of Palms, SC: Judy counted approximately 100 monarchs on a single baccharis bush. (10/23/2019)

From the Outer Banks of NC: Sightings came in from Kitty Hawk, CorollaCurrituck Sound this week. 

From Orange Beach, AL: Monica had “never seen so many monarchs. They were on all types of vegetation in the park (Gulf State Park). Many were in groups on tree branches or on any flowers available, including grassy flowers. Amazing!” (10/22/2019)

Still Moving Through Texas

From Rockwell, TX: Carol observed hundreds of monarchs “streaming by the windows…They appeared to be hugging the shoreline of Lake Ray Hubbard…I made several separate one minute counts of Monarchs passing in front of me, and those 4 counts averaged out to around 50 Monarchs per minute. This density seemed to persist for at least one and a half hours. It might have started earlier and gone later. Only a few were stopping to nectar, mostly engaging in gliding flight towards the South. Some flew quite high, and others low.” (10/20/2019) Link to report

From Austin, TX: Elisa noted, “several groups of (about 300 monarchs) scattered throughout the park, hiding in the blooming flowers.” (10/22/2019)

Form San Antonio, TX: Andriana found a “beautiful adult Monarch in Pollinator garden in school courtyard.” (10/18/2019)

Western Report

There is exciting news to report along the Pacific Coast. As Gail Morris writes, “This week the first clusters were sighted along the California coast as monarchs reached the safety of their overwintering refuges.” Read Gail Morris’ report below or follow this link

Watching and Waiting in Angangueo

The first monarchs are expected to reach sanctuaries in Mexico any day notw! Traditionally they arrive by November 1st, Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Read Estela Romero’s report below.

Western Monarch Population News & News From Monarch Sanctuaries in Mexico