Good Weather on the Way - Keep Watching for Monarchs!

March 12, 2020 by Team Journey North

Estela Romero shares inspirational words: "Monarchs convey many messages of courage, happiness, celebration, and hope." Stay hopeful as you read our Monarch News Update for this week.

Monarchs showing directional flight as they head north to breeding territory. Photo by: Estela Romero (Sierra Cincua Sanctuary Mexico; 03/12/2020)

Eastern North American Population

We await the official population report on the Eastern North American Monarch population overwintering in Mexico. The report is to be released next Friday.

As you will read in Estela Romero’s letter, the departure of Monarchs from El Rosario and Sierra Chincua Sanctuaries has slowed slightly. There is promise of rain and cooler evenings. Regardless, massive departure is imminent. 

Read more details in Estela Romero’s letter, Massive Departure Imminent

While many Monarchs remain at the Sanctuaries, citizen scientists with Journey North and Programa Correo Real attest to the fact that Monarchs are on the move. There are now more sightings in northern Mexico as well as Texas.  

As Rocio Trevino, Coordinadora, Programa Correo Real, PROFAUNA A.C. reports: “No olviden que en esta temporada es difícil ver a las monarcas en vuelo direccional, y generalmente las observamos alimentándose en nuestros jardines o en el campo. Es importante reportar aunque solamente observen un ejemplar. Como verán en el boletín ya hemos tenido un buen número de reportes de avistamientos del paso de las monarcas por Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí Tamaulipas y Nuevo León y algunas mariposas ya están entrando al estado de Texas.” (emailed: Tuesday, March 10, 2020)

[Translation: “Do not forget that this season it is difficult to see monarchs in directional flight, and we generally observe them feeding in our gardens or in the field. It is important to report even if they only observe one specimen…We have already had a good number of reports of sightings of the monarchs passing through Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, and some butterflies are already entering the state of Texas.”]

From Red Oak, TX: Dale saw a ”male monarch nectaring on Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana) in my front yard. Wear on wings with some fading; small piece out of left hind wing. Caught and checked him for OE. Tested negative and released.” (03/10/2020)

From Austin, TX: Amy “saw two in Austin on my way home from the city. Then I saw two more in my garden when I got home. This male was really tattered looking and faded.” (03/10/2020)

From Kingsville, TX: Lynn ”saw four specimens but only got a photo of one.” (03/05/2020)

Western North American Population

We have our second spring report from Gail Morris, Southwest Monarch Study. As Ms. Morris notes: “This is the beginning of the spring migration and the perfect time to look for remigrants! Take time to be outside and see if you can capture the flitting movement of an old, worn female or male moving through the landscape on their movement north and eastward.”

Read more details in Gail Morris’ Article: Looking For Milkweed. Western Monarchs 2020 Spring Report #2

There are only a few monarch first sightings from our Journey North southwest community. Keep reporting your sightings. 

From Tucson, AZ: Charles found “one adult that looked to be in good shape, resting in a tree.” (02/02/2020)

Has Milkweed Emerged Yet?

There is some good news from our Journey North citizen scientists who are seeing some milkweed emergence. Will there be enough milkweed ready when the Monarchs arrive from Mexico? 

From Terrell, TX: Frances found that the Purple milkweed (Asclepius purpurens) had emerged. (03/10/2020) 

From Driftwood, NC: Chuck spotted “our first milkweed of the season.” (03/07/2020)

From Hertford, NC: Andrea “saw some very early leaves starting.” (03/06/2020) Link to report

From Brookings, OR: Candice reported that her “potted milkweed in my yard first shoots broke ground.” (03/06/2020) Link to report

Please Report Your Sightings

It’s a critical time as the monarchs migrate northward to produce the next generation. Please report your sightings - spring migration 2020 is officially underway! Will there be milkweed along the migration pathway? Don’t forget to report milkweed emergence to Journey North. 

Monarchs & Milkweed Spring Maps

Please report:

  • Monarch Adult (FIRST sighted) 
  • Monarch Egg (FIRST sighted)
  • Monarch Larva (First sighted 
  • Milkweed (FIRST sighted) 

After these FIRST sightings, please report: 

  • Monarch Adult Sighted
  • Milkweed Sighted
  • Monarch Egg Sighted
  • Monarch Larva Sighted 
  • Monarch (OTHER observations) *including behaviors such as mating and nectaring