Monarchs Arrive at Cerro Pelon


October 27, 2017

Last week my brother-in-law Rogelio called me excitedly to say that he’d seen two monarchs from the window of his van as he was driving down the wildflower-filled road that connects the city of Zitácuaro to our village Macheros.

Then on October 27th my sister-in-law Daleth saw another two dancing around our yard.

Still I wasn’t sure if these sightings merited a report—could these monarchs be some of Mexico’s year-round residents instead of newly-arrived migrators?

My doubts grew when I saw the Associated Press story on their tardy departure from Canada brought on by unseasonably warm temperatures. Point Pelee monarch activist Darlene Burgess spotted clusters of monarchs hanging out on Canada’s southernmost tip as late as October 25th. Darlene says she’s seen monarchs this late before (as late as November 18 in fact), just not this many this late.

But then later that same day, Joel’s brother Patricio sent me a message from the mountain: he and the three Butterflies and Their People arborists spotted a dozen flying near Carditos on Cerro Pelón.

Patricio’s fellow forest ranger Juvencio saw another small group near El Llano de Tres Gobernadores. While the monarch colonies like to switch up the location of their roosts on Cerro Pelón, Carditos and El Llano are two areas that they consistently prefer.

The next few days were cloudy, but on Sunday, October 29 the arborists reported seeing about a thousand monarchs flying about Carditos, which is where we are guessing they will form their roost this season. Meanwhile in Macheros we continue to see their tiny silhouettes pumping their wings overhead.

And so, the monarchs are trickling in in another strange season altered by climate change, as late October finds them spread out across much of their migratory range.


Ellen Sharp, PhD

Co-owner, JM Butterfly B&B

Director, Butterflies & Their People, A.C.