Eastern Monarch Fall 2021 Report #4


Published: 10/06/2021

Note: Observations highlighted in this report are from September 24–30. To explore more recent observations, check out “The Leading Edge” section of the news update and explore our maps.

Peak Activity and Roosts Along the Central Flyway

Peak migration events and fall roosts were reported across a large portion of the Central Flyway. Activity was still noted in southern Ontario and the Upper Midwest and increased throughout the Great Plains and down through Texas.

Pam in Claflin, KS: “(57 counted) Small, scattered groups of butterflies, or singles in shelter belt; 6-7 p.m.; north wind ~ 15 mph; temp. probably around 75 degrees. They were on red cedar, honey locust and mulberry. This is the same area they’ve been using. Saw another 8 flying in the other tree belt, looking for a place to roost in cottonwoods and willows. Numbers in that roost way down but may have been because there wasn’t as much protection from the wind.” (09/24/2021)

Amy in Lubbock, TX: “Gorgeous. I noticed a few on 9/23, 9/24 there were a few more. By 9/25 there were bunches in the trees and flying around. By noon on 9/26, they were gone. They seemed to like the pecan trees this year. They were also in the fruitless mulberry. No nearby nectar sources that I know of, but we are on north side of Lubbock with lots of fields around. Overnight lows of 63 degrees F. We are in a bit of a canyon, so they seem to like to stop off here. This is our 3rd roost in 10 years. The first one was majestic.” (09/25/2021)

Darlene in Leamington, ON: “[200 monarchs at] Point Pelee National Park at the Tip. 4:45-7:30pm, sunset 7:16.” (09/28/2021)

Sally in Taylorville, IL: “They started coming in to my way station around 4 pm. Some left before sunset, flying southwest but about 30 stayed in my sweet gum and pine trees overnight. They were gone by 8 am!” (09/28/2021)

Kristin in Springfield, MO: “Yesterday and today I found 60 plus monarchs roosting mostly in a bald cypress tree and other surrounding trees. I have 2 butterfly bushes and multiple types of milkweed planted nearby. This is ther first year I’ve seen them roost!” (09/28/2021)

Kelly in Tulsa, OK: “There is a large group of migrating monarchs at the Gathering Place in Tulsa, OK.” (09/28/2021)

Kathleen in Stevensville, MI: “The monarchs were flying south along the shoreline at Grand Mere State Park. We were counting about 100 every 15 minutes, not eating just flying along the beach and dunes.” (09/30/2021)

Migration Building Along the Eastern Flyway

Farther east, migration showed signs of picking up along the Eastern Flyway (the Eastern Flyway often lags behind the Central Flyway in timing of migration).

Barbara in Wantagh, NY: “A beautiful fall afternoon I spotted 89 Monarchs in 1 1/2 hours at Jones Beach. Temps were in the mid 70’s I observed from 5 pm to 6:30. There are adequate food sources with plenty of goldenrod, lantana, butterfly bush and other numerous flowering plants.” (09/24/2021)

Laurel in Madison, CT: “Saw at least 50 monarch butterflies at Hammonaset between 4-5pm this afternoon. Spoke with Meigs Point Nature Center staff and they were tagging butterflies coming through today. On one butterfly bush alone, I counted 25 butterflies. I walked both sides of the dune (along the sidewalk and along the beach) and counted 20 butterflies, some were nectaring on goldenrod and other flowering plants. Others were flying overhead. Those I saw flying were headed southwest. I didn’t see any over or close to the water. They were following the dune. Temperature was around 70 when I was there.” (09/26/2021)

Gayle in Cape May Point, NJ: “Saw 2 roosts, one approximately 50, the other around 25.” (09/28/2021)

Late Larvae and Eggs

In the northern U.S., some Journey North citizen scientists observed late season eggs and larvae.

Michelle in Cortland, IL: “So late in the season… oh momma monarch. Temperature at night , 55, daytime 68 … located in a sunny area . Asclepius tuberosa dying, swamp milkweed in the shade dying. Swamp milkweed in the sunshine still staying green…” (09/26/2021)

Dawn in Stevens Point, WI: “Found two caterpillars in my garden today. One in a J and the other preparing to be a J. I hope it is not too late for them.” (09/29/2021)