Expanding Northward

May 16, 2019 by Team Journey North

New monarchs on the wing!

“Fresh looking female visited all the common and swamp milkweeds…Many eggs were deposited.” Photo by: Jennifer (04/30/2019; Arlington, VA)

Breaking News — Beginning To Surge Northward

At the beginning of this week, we had planned to report that the northward edge of the monarch migration line had stalled at latitude 42°N. But, we had to “hold the presses” to include new monarch sightings in Wisconsin. There is even a monarch sighting from Central Elgin, ON. New sightings indicate that the migration line has now reached latitude 43°N. First spring generation monarchs are now on the wing.

From Walworth, WI: Melissa is “100% positive” that she “saw a monarch this afternoon as she was leaving to get the kids from school…it flew right over my windshield…I was too excited to get my phone out and take a picture.” (05/15/2019) more

From Town of Prairie du Sac, WI: Amy reported, “Our first sighting of monarchs on Moely Prairie. There were two flying around together…” (05/15/2019)

From Washington Court House, OHKim observed “On young Common Milkweed plants.”  (05/07/2019)

Monarchs continue to move along the Atlantic Coast and the Midwest laying eggs along the way. Journey North citizen scientists reported first sightings for monarch eggs in Wisconsin as well as in Pennington, NJ.

From Milwaukee, WI: James reported, “Missed seeing a monarch at work, but located eggs on common, swamp, poke and Sullivant’s milkweed shoots. Possibly laid yesterday, May 14.” (05/15/2019)
From Broken Arrow, OK: Sandra reported, “Earlier, a Monarch female laid eggs for 9 days on the tiniest of milkweeds in the backyard garden…A total of 180+ eggs were collected and shared with friends to raise. Today I counted, and I have at least 104 caterpillars ranging from 2nd to 5th instar out on potted milkweeds and in the garden…” more

Monarch caterpillars have also been sighted along latitude 40°N. 

From Herndon, VALisa “checked back” on the eggs she reported to Journey North on 4-23-2019. She was excited to “find lots of caterpillars on common milkweed.” (05/10/2019)

Milkweed Emergence Line 

The milkweed emergence line has crossed the Canadian border. There have been reports of milkweed now in Ontario and Quebec. 

From Toronto, ONCamilla found “five or more milkweed plants at this location.” (05/14/2019)

From St-Constant, QC: Denis noted it was “still cold…13 degrees Celcius” but a milkweed sighting nonetheless. (05/08/2019)

Still Overlapping Generations Sighted 

Journey North citizen scientists are still reporting monarchs with faded wings — even as far north as Indiana.

From Wadesville, IN: Tom reported what “looked like a female that had over-wintered in Mexico. She was pretty faded, and tattered and doing an egg dump on different patches of common milkweed and butterfly weed.” (05/09/2019)

Keep Reporting

Watch for a dramatic upsurge perhaps next week. This sightings chart — from 2015 spring season — shows the typical surge that occurs during the second half of May. Watch the migration path to determine when it will reach the end of the milkweed trail? Keep an eye on the wind and temperature map too. 

We need continued reports of monarchs, monarch eggs, monarch caterpillars and milkweed.

Check Out the Western Monarchs 2019 Spring Report#14 which provides additional resources for properly identifying Monarch butterflies and caterpillars.