Western Monarchs 2019 Spring Report #6

Any Sightings of Monarchs Along the Colorado River?


By Gail Morris

March 21, 2019

Looking for Monarchs!

The rains paused and warm temperatures swept through the California coastal regions this weekend. Now citizen scientists are hiking trails to look for monarchs and to check if milkweed is up in the nearby foothills. We look forward to hearing from them as they return and share their news. Unfortunately, more rain is coming this week.

No longer fresh and new

How will the monarchs look? The spring remigrants have been alive since late last summer and early fall. The pristine color of a freshly eclosed monarch is now gone, instead they may look faded and worn, showing the evidence of their long journey on their wings. Some may look tattered as well.

Colorado River

California is not the only region to look for spring remigrants. In some years, monarchs may overwinter along the northern coast of the Baja Peninsula. Every March, citizen scientists report small numbers of monarchs flying north along the Colorado River on the border between Arizona and California. Since spring monarchs move north and east, could the weathered monarchs observed come from the Baja coast? Thus far, no citizen scientist has reported monarchs along the Colorado River. Are the monarchs late because of the earlier cool and rainy weather? What do you think? Will you help us and report your monarch sightings?

Please Report Your Sightings

Help us to find answers to these and other questions. Let’s keep following monarch population movements in the West. Please join Journey North and our partners who care deeply about the western monarch butterfly population to help track monarchs. Report your sightings on Journey North – sightings can include first adult monarchs, eggs, larvae, and first milkweed emergence.

Gail Morris is the Coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Study (www.swmonarchs.org), a Monarch Watch Conservation Specialist, and the Vice President of the Monarch Butterfly Fund and the Central Arizona Butterfly Association. The Western Monarch Population News is based on comments provided to Gail Morris. We hope to increase the number of sightings and therefore photos and comments entered into the Journey North. We rely on the volunteers who communicate regularly with Gail and who agree to participate in our effort to increase awareness of the population of western Monarchs.