Departure Imminent

March 9, 2017 by Elizabeth Howard

As the butterflies prepare to depart for migration, tags and wings are being recovered for clues about where the monarchs originated last fall.

“The flying and constant bursting were spectacularly fantastic. I cannot find any other words to describe this weekend’s experience,” wrote Estela after her visit to Sierra Chincua on March 5th.

Collecting Tags and Wings

This week, Estela accompanied Monarch Watch volunteers to collect tags. New this year, the wings are also being collected for research. Volunteer Diane Pruden describes the process: “Over the winter, local people comb the forests and look for dead monarchs with tags. The tags are then removed and each person has a different method of storing them.” Read more…

News From the Sanctuaries

Colony break-up is underway as monarchs continue to move down the mountains in search of water. It was last year at this time — as the monarchs were about to depart — that the devastating late-season storm struck.

Estela visited four sanctuaries last week with the team. She said the butterflies at Sierra Chincua were truly stunning.

“As we reached the center of the colony, we got paralyzed. One could not believe one’s eyes. I last saw this huge population in Sierra Chincua years and years ago now.” Read more…

Cerro Pelon Sanctuary

Ellen Sharp, who lives and runs a hotel near the sanctuary, shares her impressions of the season. The monarchs appear to have started a slow, staggered departure. “Overall higher temperatures have left us asking if our colony will stay with us until the March 20 equinox as it has in seasons past.” Read more…

Get Ready for Migration!

On March 1st, Estela sent this exciting news:

“I need to tell you while driving from Querétaro to Angangueo we saw perhaps a couple dozen monarchs flying north! They were already 80 km (50 miles) from the sanctuary!”