Letter from Estela Romero: Season's Farwell

Our beloved Monarch butterflies have bid farewell to their hibernation sites, embarking on their epic journey northward!

 

Greetings, 

Over the past week and weekend, the hibernation season of our remarkable Monarch butterflies drew to a close, marking the beginning of their long journey north. Observers in the region noted a distinct change in behavior among these admirable creatures this season.

In November, the monarchs arrived promptly at Sierra Chincua, initially settling at the La Casa del Japonés site before moving just a few weeks later to the El Llanito area, where they hibernated throughout the winter until their departure last week. Interestingly, they did not follow their usual pattern of moving downhill to the El Tepozan site as temperatures rose. Normally, this site offers denser forest cover and protection from the intense sun at higher altitudes. Instead, the Monarchs opted to head directly north, bypassing this traditional relocation.

Unfortunately, the greenery and flowers in Sierra Chincua were notably stressed and dry, providing scant nectar for the colony before their departure. This could be attributed to last February’s snowfall and subsequent intense but brief frosts, which may have damaged the surrounding undergrowth.

Additionally, both residents and visiting Monarch Watch conservation specialists observed a surprisingly smaller number of migrating monarchs than usual in both Sierra Chincua and El Rosario Sanctuaries.

Venturing to El Rosario Sanctuary, we were relieved to find a lush, flowering environment, teeming with mating monarchs, and towering Oyamel trees still adorned in vibrant orange clusters on Thursday, March 7th, even after weeks of gradual mass departure. This marked the final day for visitors to witness the colony at El Rosario for the season, as the monarchs made their last mass departure the following morning, Friday, March 8th.

Estela

Estela Romero Journey North Angangueo, Michoacán, México Estela Romero is an environmental educator with Monarchs Across Georgia. Reporting from Angangueo, Michoacán, Estela Romero’s work is made possible by funding from Monarchs Across Georgia and the Monarch Butterfly Fund. 

Translated and edited by Nancy Sheehan, Journey North Program Coordinator with the help of www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

last cluster of monarch

Last Cluster

El Rosario Sanctuary, MBBR
sunset

Seasons End

El Rosario Sanctuary, MBBR