Western Monarchs More Active. Eastern Monarchs Depart Mexico.

March 7, 2023 by Team Journey North

Spring migration is underway! Estela Romero reports that approximately 75% of the monarchs have departed the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Gail Morris writes that, as the weather improves, monarchs show signs of activity. Get ready to report your monarch and milkweed observations.

Sun Dappled Orange. Photo: Marylou Barker Gooden in Pismo Beach, CA (03/05/2023)

Eastern Monarch Population

A Short Note From Estela Romero

Ms. Romero wrote: "There are only a few monarchs remaining at the Sanctuaries. Thousands can be seen streaming down the visitor staircase at the El Rosario Sanctuary. It is wonderful to see the amazing speed of the monarch flight during spring migration. Mr. Silvestre, Chief of Gudes, commented: "By this time, nearly 75% of the population could already be gone by now". It is a bittersweet time for us in Mexico. We need to say goodbye until next overwintering season."

Rather than a written report this week, Ms. Estela Romero video-recorded monarchs as they depart the sanctuaries in Mexico. 

Few Visitors. Many Departing Monarchs. (March 06, 2023)

Monarchs Streaming Down the Mountain. (March 06, 2023)

Check out the Journey North YouTube playlist, Overwintering Season 2022-2023: Monarch Happenings at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Michoacán, Mexico

Seeing Monarchs and Milkweed?

Reports are already coming in. During this early period of migration, monarchs are being spotted in Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana. Where will the leading edge of migration be next week? Explore our maps from previous years and see if you notice any patterns. 

Kathy in Montgomery, TX: "This morning we saw the first monarchs of this season. Always a real joy...Spotted a female flying low and then egg-laying on an Asclepias viridis milkweed sprout...Saw a second female quickly, but continued following the first as she traversed several acres of pastureland looking for milkweed [which] she found...I would not have spotted it (just emerging). I took note that she was only laying 1-2 eggs on each plant she chose...We are so happy the monarchs have arrived here from their beloved home in Mexico. There is an abundance of blooming nectar plants available for them, including False Garlic flowers, Wild Blackberry Blossoms, Yellow Thistles, and blooming Mexican Plum trees. Our milkweed has just this last week emerged, so the timing could not be more perfect. (03/05/2023)

Chuck from Driftwood, TX: "Our first Monarch of the season is a female that was ovipositing at the back of our lot. She was moving quickly from plant to plant and disappeared to the SE after a few minutes. (03/05/2023)

Larry in Chelsea, AL: "Adult Butterfly that was very faded. Made a quick stop on geranium bloom and took off before I could get out phone." (03/04/2023)

Jeanne Marie in Youngsville, LA: "The temperature today is 72 degrees, but it was 50 degrees overnight. A monarch was flying around and lighting on my milkweed plants, but did not seem to be laying eggs. Seemed to be trying to warm itself in the sun. There are no flowers blooming where the milkweed is, but many blooming near by. I looked for eggs, but did not see any. (03/04/2023)

Ryan in Forney, TX: "Antelopehorn milkweed emerging in garden. Temps outside 75 degrees. About two inches of rain fell a few days ago." (03/05/2023)

Western Monarch Population

Letter From Gail Morris: Western Monarch Spring 2023 Report #4

Gail Morris writes: "After weeks of winds, rain, and even snow, the weather was calmer along the California coast and lower deserts of Arizona. While temperatures were still cool and below normal, monarchs are slowly becoming more active and leaving the shelter of their winter homes on their spring migration. Extended forecasts predict the possibility of another rainy spell in the upcoming weeks. For now, monarchs are actively mating and will be welcomed by freshly emerging milkweeds across the landscape." 

Read Gail Morris' letter>>

Please Submit Your Observational Reports

If you are observing monarchs and milkweed, please report to Journey North. 

Thank you!