Taking Flight

October 6, 2021 by Team Journey North

October is here and monarch fall migration is in full swing. Migratory monarchs were reported in Mexico, and activity remains high for both the eastern and western population. Keep reporting your observations to Journey North!

“From noon until 1:30 pm we counted 188 Monarchs at the Cherry Cove Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Elevation 4,327 ft. It was partly cloudy with winds 5 to 10 mph.” Comment & photo: Theresa in Canton, NC (10/02/2021)

The Leading Edge of Migration

Thanks to a deep partnership between Journey North and Correo Real, Journey North is fortunate to be able to report the arrival of migratory monarchs to Mexico. Correo Real recently shared  reports that may well signal the beginning of migratory monarchs entering Mexico. The numbers will greatly expand as migration continues – stay tuned!

Eglantina Canales in Saltillo, Coahuila de Zaragoza: “Clear sky, [monarch] feeding on my back yard at 14:00.” (09/29/2021)

Elsa Hernandez in Monterrey, NLE: “One monarch feeding on Asclepias curassavica. 25°C, cloudy, mild wind.” (09/30/2021)

And more monarchs are heading towards Mexico. Activity is picking up in Texas, and particularly so at Amistad National Recreation Area (AMIS) near Del Rio in Val Verde County, Texas. Last fall the Natural Resources Department at AMIS wrote an article for Journey North that discusses the ecology of the park, its importance for monarch migration and conservation, and how Journey North helps both staff and visitors track monarchs. 

Sarah in Del Rio, TX: “National Park Service - Amistad National Recreation Area. Been looking at this site since September 28, this is first time seeing them this fall. Roosting in clumps of 2 to 6 on huisache, hackberry and ash trees. Watching them stretch their wings when the sun starts to reach them is incredible!” (10/05/2021)

Along the Eastern Flyway, Monarchs are making their way down the Atlantic Coast and into Virginia and North Carolina.

Janice in Greenbush, Virginia: “Just counted 21 monarchs as we were traveling north on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel this evening. Tagged 9 yesterday in about 15 minutes at my Monarch Waystation in Greenbush, Virginia on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Can’t wait to see how many tomorrow will bring!” (10/01/2021)

There has also been much activity our West. Reports are increasing throughout the Southwest and California, and there’s also been a few more reports from the Pacific Northwest.

Rich in Napa, CA: “First visit to our milkweed all year. They have hung around it for the last two days. Haven’t seen eggs, but will keep checking.” (10/01/2021)

Darleen in Gilbert, AZ: “Worn out looking male with tattered wing spotted with a large group of queen butterflies I had been watching all day in my butterfly garden. I noticed a new butterfly that looked like a Monarch so went to grab my phone to take photo. First Monarch of the Fall season in my yard.” (10/03/2021)

Linda in Medford, OR: “[Monarch] nectaring on dahlias.” (10/03/2021)

Eastern Monarch Population

Eastern Monarch Fall 2021 Report #4

Peak migration events and fall roosts were reported across a large portion of the Central Flyway. Activity was still noted in southern Ontario and the Upper Midwest and increased throughout the Great Plains and down through Texas. Farther east, migration showed signs of picking up along the Eastern Flyway (the Eastern Flyway often lags behind the Central Flyway in timing of migration).

Read more of the Eastern Monarch Fall 2021 Report #4»

Western Monarch Population

Letter from Gail Morris: Western Monarch Fall 2021 Report #4

Snow dappled the northern elevations of the West and even brushed the mountain tops in Eastern Arizona this week. Longer nights and cooler temperatures are pushing migrating monarchs to their winter homes. More southern regions of the West were still warm with abundant nectar to recharge migrating monarchs as they pass through.

Read more of Gail Morris’ Letter: Western Monarch Fall 2021 Report #4»

Scanning the Trees: Monitoring Fall Monarch Roosts in Northern Illinois

Since 2018, a group of Master Naturalists have been monitoring the location and size of fall monarch roosts in northern Illinois and submitting this data to Journey North. This group caught the monarch roost “bug” from discussions with the Master Naturalist coordinator, Nancy Kuhajda. We spotlight their volunteer efforts here. We hope their efforts inspire others to catch the roost “bug” so that we can document and protect roost habitat.  

A Volunteer Spotlight: Read more about monitoring fall monarch roosts in northern Illinois»

Watch the Weather and Keep Reporting

Use this live Windy.com map to predict good weather and flying conditions for monarchs in your area. Weather patterns impact monarch migration success. Recent temperatures and winds have been favorable for monarchs but conditions are constantly changing.

And keep reporting your observations of monarchs. Your reports add to our collective understanding of monarch migration. Thanks for all you do on behalf of monarch migration tracking!