Welcoming More Arrivals
Estela Romero and Pato Moreno provide updates from monarch sanctuaries in Mexico. New arrivals will continue as monarchs remain on the move farther north. And out West, Gail Morris shares news of monarch numbers increasing in California.
The Leading Edge of Migration
As shared in last week’s update by Estela Romero and Ellen Sharp, monarchs are arriving at the sanctuaries within the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in central Mexico. And more are on their way!
Lourdes in Santa Catarina, NLE: “ adult butterflies resting on two trees and more fluttering about.” (11/07/2021)
In California, monarch numbers continue to grow along the coast. Encouragingly, Journey North volunteers are seeing monarchs in areas where they were absent last year.
Christopher in Ventura, CA: “Saw hundreds of Monarchs swarming and roosting around Eucalyptus and Cypress trees next to the Ventura County Credit Union Building … the picture shows the Monarchs roosting in the Eucalyptus leaves.” (11/04/2021)
Susan in El Segundo, CA: “Around 8 am, some hanging in tall pine tree, others dead on ground, a couple feeding on Cliff Buckwheat and a few flying around higher in the air. I do not remember seeing this last year when I walked in this area for the first time during Covid-19 lock-down.” (11/08/2021)
Letter From Estela Romero: A Frenetic Race Up the Mountains
At El Rosario and Sierra Chincua, Estela Romero details differing circumstances between the two sanctuaries. Estela writes, “I made my first visit to Sierra Chincua Sanctuary facilities this weekend. At the Sanctuary entrance that morning, I did not see many monarchs flying in the blue sky during the morning. Their arrival to the sanctuary should be happening anytime along their journey up the mountain … I also visited the El Rosario Sanctuary and encountered a different experience. Hundreds of monarchs were frenetically moving about. They were arriving from the valley of Angangueo to reach the mountain top. They were strong, flapping their wings looking as if they were young bats or even birds!”
Letter From Pato Moreno: Monarchs Quick to Form a Colony on Cerro Pelon
At Cerro Pelon sanctuary, Pato Moreno, a State of Mexico Commission for Natural Parks and Fauna (CEPANAF) forest ranger and supervisor of Butterflies & Their People, shares news of monarchs reaching the summit of Cerro Pelon and forming a colony. He speculates they have settled quickly due to cool temperatures. Pato writes, “By November 3, the monarchs began to form a colony in Carditos. That day we saw 12 trees filled with butterflies … On Thursday the 4th, we observed a massive arrival of butterflies. That afternoon, we counted more than 40 trees. Among these, 15 were densely laden with butterflies … This behavior seems to be caused by the weather, which is cool and cloudy (50-53°F).”
Eastern Monarch Population
Eastern Monarch Fall 2021 Report #9
Along the Central Flyway, reports were steady in central Texas and Mexico as more monarchs approached overwintering grounds. Some Journey North volunteers noted a cold front that put a temporary pause on migration. And migratory monarchs were still noted along the Gulf Coast. These monarchs are playing catch up: the Eastern Flyway often lags behind the Central Flyway in timing of migration.
Western Monarch Population
Letter from Gail Morris: Western Monarch Fall 2021 Report #9
Out West, Gail Morris notes that monarch sightings are decreasing in certain areas as more monarchs make their way to overwintering sites along the California coast. Gail writes, “New monarch sightings decreased in the Southern tier of the Western United States as the number of monarchs increased at overwintering sites along the California coast. Unofficial count tallies are higher than the previous three years, a hopeful omen for this year’s upcoming annual Thanksgiving Count, a point of comparison from year to year. Late flying monarchs appearing across the West hurried on their way as the fall migration nears its end.”
Video: Three Nations Join to Celebrate Monarch Butterflies
In case you missed it, join Estela Romero in welcoming monarchs back to their winter home. Explore the joy, remembrance, and comfort as communities in central Mexico celebrate the return of the monarch with Day of the Dead festivities. Celebrate how three nations – Canada, the U.S., and Mexico – are united in efforts to protect monarchs and their extraordinary migration.
Fall Migration Updates Winding Down
Two weeks left for publishing our Fall Migration News Updates — but monitoring monarch activity continues during winter. Stay tuned for regular updates throughout December, January and February.