Fluctuating Temperatures & Precipitation Patterns

February 20, 2023 by Team Journey North

February weather is unpredictable. Gail Morris reports that monarchs are still savoring the protection of the California overwintering sites. Estela Romero reports that monarchs are becoming more active. Is the journey north about to begin? Stay up-to-date with Journey North.

Monarchs More Active. Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. Photo: Estela Romero (02/21/2023)

Eastern Monarch Population

Letter From Estela Romero: First Signs of Spring Migration

The overwintering season is winding down in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Monarchs are becoming more active and slowly but surely starting to relocate and move north. Estela Romero reports that monarchs at the El Rosario Sanctuary are on the move! 

Read the Spanish version of Estela Romero’s letter»

Read the English version of Estela Romero’s letter»

Get Ready Texas 

While the overwintering population of monarchs in Mexico has not begun their journey north, observers in Texas will need to be on alert. During this early period of migration, it can be difficult to distinguish between a migrating monarch and an overwintering monarch. Some migrating monarchs have faded and tattered wings, while others do not. Be patient and keep watching the Journey North maps to stay up-to-date on all monarch activity. 

Already, observers in Texas have taken note of emerging milkweed plants. Will there be milkweed present when monarchs arrive from Mexico? Submit your milkweed reports to Journey North. 

Dawn in Mansfield, TX: "So early! About half our plants have started sprouting. This is pink incarnata. Cold weather coming next week I hope they make it." (01/26/2023) 

Suzanne in Edinburg, TX: "About a dozen Zizotes Milkweed (Asclepias oenotheroides) growing in a field." (02/01/2023)

Still Time to Participate: Monitor Overwintering Monarchs in the Southeastern U.S.

It looks like this will be the last week for this targeted study. Ms. Estela Romero reports that monarchs overwintering at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve are very active and starting to move from overwintering. If you live in the Gulf states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida as well as Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, please report monarch observations using the Monarch Adult Sighted reporting category. Learn more about how to participate»

Western Monarch Population

Letter From Gail Morris: Western Monarch Spring 2023 Report #2

Gail Morris writes: Surprisingly in comparison to recent years, many monarchs in the West are still savoring the protection of the California overwintering sites as we approach the end of February, a harbinger of cool weather. Mating and active flying and nectaring monarchs rule the day in the groves on sunny days. Counts continue to monitor their presence/absence. Despite the cooler temperatures, early milkweeds are appearing to greet females beginning their spring migration..."

Read Gail Morris' letter>>

Where are monarchs now in the southwestern regions of the U.S.? Please let us know if you are seeing monarch adults, eggs, and/or larvae.

Joyce in Mountain View, CA: "We were surprised to see an old faded female oviposting on a small milkweed at Google yesterday." (02/19/2023)

Thank you for participating.