Western Monarch Fall Report #2

By Gail Morris

Few Monarchs

Monarch sighting reports were few in number in the West this week but there was an important milestone: the first monarch sighting at Pismo Beach in California. Pismo is one of the larger overwintering sites along the Coast and thanks to a Citizen Scientist report we know they are safely arriving.

Western Sightings

We look forward to seeing more monarchs as they journey to their overwintering grounds!

Good news in Pismo Beach, California as Sue found her first monarch arriving at this well known coastal overwintering ground on September 3. “One Monarch in Coast Live Oak tree.”

Further north of San Francisco, Linda saw one monarch in The Sea Ranch, California. “On Buddleia flower.”

Cathie in Discovery Bay, California, saw monarchs on September 6. “I think there were 2 different butterflies but it may have been just one that I saw in different places.”

Further east in Utah, Jennifer in River Heights is not letting the pandemic get in her way of tagging monarchs on their Fall migration with her family. “Tagging monarchs this year has been a big highlight for my kids who are home from school this semester! So many wonderful things to enjoy right in our back yard.” We can all do this!

Not all monarchs in the West fly to coastal California for the winter. Some tagged monarchs in Arizona have been found in Mexico and others tagged in Utah and Idaho have shown directional flight to the Southeast. Maybe someday we’ll learn others migrate to Mexico as well.

Are you seeing monarchs? Be sure to report them to Journey North today!

Wild Weather Ahead!

Many Western cities and towns have reported scorching record high temperatures this summer with some areas even tipping the scales as one of the hottest summers on record. Adding to this challenge are the wildfires raging in several states including California. Now after a sizzling Labor Day weekend and record heat in some locations reaching well above 100 degrees, a rare extreme weather phenomenon is barreling through the West bringing hurricane strength winds to Utah and the earliest first snow in years to the northern reaches of the West in early September. With the monarch migration in process, we need your eyes to alert everyone about what you are seeing where you live.

September Monitoring

The monarch migration is already in progress! Remember to take your camera when you are traveling or on a hike or even in your own backyard. Share your story with us of where you found monarchs in all their life stages and what they were doing. Are there still flowers available for monarchs to refuel on their journey? Let us know. Thank you for reporting all your observations. Submit your observations to Journey North – we look forward to hearing from you!

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. You can reach her at gail@swmonarchs.org.