Monarch PEAK Migration
Sightings report image

Date: 09/30/2021

Number: 50

Many monarchs passing through this area today - have caught and tagged more than 20 - and many more have come through.

[Additional information contributed by observer, added by Journey North, 10/01/21]:

I witnessed many monarchs throughout the day yesterday. I participate in the Monarch Watch program to tag and release them and was very excited to be home yesterday from mid-day onwards. I caught around 30 - and for everyone I did catch I estimate there was at least another in the yard at the same time (I was once trying to catch 1 out of five feeding on the same plant) - so there were likely 75-80 passing through my little 1/3 of an acre. I would also estimate that I saw another 20 on a small afternoon walk through the neighborhood. Hence, I would put the estimate around 80-100 - that seems like a good range for the day.

Timing-wise: This started around 11:00 AM (EST) (when my wife called me to report seeing monarchs for tagging) and lasted through 4:30 PM. They came through in a few distinct waves - with many monarchs arriving in a 10-15 minute window and then a 15 minute window without any sightings. I went on a walk from 11:30-12:00 and then worked from outside, frequently grabbing my net for the rest of the afternoon. They stopped coming around 4:30 - as the sun started to sit low over the horizon and the shadows were stretching across the lawn.

The monarchs were coming in from the east - and I live less than a mile from the Chesapeake Bay on that side - so I do not know if they were coming in from across the bay or coming parallel to the shoreline. They left to the west and southwest directions (mostly Southwest). Some of them flew at height (two stories up - against roofline of the homes). Others flew in closer to the ground (about 4-6 feet up). Many of those came in to feed on my butterfly bushes, cosmos, and other wild flowers. That made them easier to target for the tagging process.

There was very little wind and the sky was completely clear - it was a beautiful day in the mid-Atlantic - much like today. There were some clouds in the am - but they had departed by the time the monarch waves started coming through.

Today - I was outside all day in anticipation of seeing them. . . I only witnessed two (both came at the same time and I only caught and tagged one). I found that very odd - yesterday was clearly a one-day event for that particular group of monarchs.

In the past few years, I have noted my peak tagging period to be mid-October. In 2018 most of my tagging was October 16-17. In 2019 it was October 14-15. Last year it was October 14-18. I am still hoping that mid-October will see another large wave come through Chesapeake Beach. I am quite looking forward to it.

Chesapeake Beach, MD

Latitude: 38.7 Longitude: -76.5

Observed by: Justin
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