Sightings Flowing In

September 16, 2020 by Team Journey North

Fall begins next week and migration is well underway as reports of flying, nectaring, roosting, and late season breeding continue to come in.

“During a hike over 1 mile we counted 207 [monarchs] sitting on goldenrod & aster. Observed between 1:30-3:00. Weather: 70F degrees. Partly cloudy. Very little wind. They were also flying south.” Photo: Barbara (Oak Creek, WI; 09/13/2020)

Eastern Monarch Population

Eggs and Larvae

High numbers of eggs and larvae are being reported in the southern US. Farther north, reports are still coming in although Journey North citizen scientists are noting deteriorating milkweed.

Jean in Abilene,TX: “There are eggs on every milkweed patch I have checked around Abilene, TX.” (09/07/2020)

Melissa in Rocky Face, GA: “All of these [larvae] hatched at my mother’s home in Rocky Face, GA. She seems to have been in their direct path this year because usually I get visitors in the fall and she doesn’t get any-this year the tables turned. I didn’t have any. There is a small mountain between our homes so I decided that they came up her side of the valley for a change. We couldn’t count them all. A few small, perhaps 2nd instar but the rest were larger. (09/09/2020)

Beverly in West Nyack, NY: “I noticed this caterpillar on spent Milkweed this afternoon. A little late - I hope it has time to mature and get to Mexico!” (09/13/2020)

Roosts and Peak Migration

More reports of monarch roosts and peak migration are coming in from the Midwestern US and southern Ontario, Canada. Between September 11-13, Chicago, IL alone had ten reports of roosts and peak migration. The most southern roost to date was reported in Great Bend, Kansas. Check out the Monarch Fall Roost map to see the location of reported roosts.

Roy in Ajax, ON: “The Monarch roosts grew exponentially since the previous day (On Sept 8 - saw about 50). Today there was over 1000 for sure, with many more flying in. A big White Oak tree alone had close to 500 Monarchs. The roosts I found were on White as well as Red Oak trees. They were viewed between 6-7:30pm, temp was 16C and very slight wind gusts. Most of the roosts were about 15-30 feet above ground, but there were some low lying trees that also had the as well.” (09/10/2020)

Adil in Chicago, IL: “I was running on a track in downtown Chicago when I spotted 4-5 butterflies flying around. I stopped and watched them for a few minutes. I followed one that flew to an overhead tree branch. Upon closer inspection, the branch was covered in monarch butterflies! It was amazing to see how well they were able blend into their environment despite having bright orange wings.” (09/12/2020)

Anna in Huron, OH: “I cannot say exactly how many I saw - but there were hundreds!” (09/12/2020)

Phyllis in Morris, IL: “Goose Lake Prairie in the copse of trees at the center of the picnic area. At dusk, the monarchs came streaming in from the adjacent prairie. Estimate was in excess of 2,000.” (09/15/2020)

Fueling Up

Monarchs continue to nectar intensely to fuel their long journey and build the lipid reserves they’ll need for overwintering.

Linda in Nevada, IA: “While walking the trail around Hickory Grove Lake, saw 8 monarchs nectaring on thistles, mostly at the west end, and 8 others in flight and a couple nectaring on other plants. 80 degrees, hazy due to Calif. wildfire smoke, 7 mph south wind.” (09/14/2020)

Western Monarch Population

Monarchs are on the way!

This week monarchs appeared along the South-central California coast in small numbers, a harbinger of the near Fall season. Monarchs were also seen in Idaho and in expanding numbers in Utah through Arizona and New Mexico as well. Despite raging wildfires and extraordinary hot and cold weather events, monarchs continue to stream towards their winter homes.

Read more of Gail Morris’ Western Monarch Fall Report #3…

Your Valuable Observations

Journey North citizen scientists continue to contribute invaluable observations. Each report is a jewel of information and adds to our collective understanding of monarch migration.

Keep reporting and thanks for all you do on behalf of monarch migration tracking!