Practice Report (Any Species)

Date: 05/27/2023

Number: 1

An Unusually Early Arrival

I had serious doubts when I first saw a flutter of orange go by this afternoon.  But when it came back around, I convinced myself that it really was a Monarch Butterfly (although I had no camera handy to document it).  It fluttered back and forth several times along our garden bed (~3'x50', which currently contains pink single peonies in bloom, common milkweeds not yet in bloom, raspberries canes, and various other plants) on the south side of our house, and occasionally extending its flight into our neighbor's yard to the east.  It never stopped to nectar; it only briefly landed a few times amidst the milkweeds and raspberry canes.  (I discovered later, that each stop had indeed been long enough to lay several eggs; always one per milkweed plant; so it definitely was a female.)  Then, after about 5 minutes, it disappeared around the west end of our house heading north.

My doubts at first glance were based on the fact that over the past 7 years that we have been making Monarch observations, we have never seen a Monarch Butterfly locally here in Happy Valley until the latter part of June, and often not until July:

Our First Observation of a Monarch Butterfly Each Year 2016-2022








Weather wise, our month of May has been quite variable; we hit a low of 0°F early in the month and a high of 82°F less than a week later.  We are currently heading into a significant warming trend with temperatures expected in the upper 80s toward the end of next week.  (Our average high at this point would be about 72°F.)  Arguably more significant for our local plants and critters is the fact that we have yet to receive any significant rain thus far this month.  (Normally, we would have received about 4.7 inches of precipitation at this point in May.)

This afternoon (~3PM) while watching our first Monarch Butterfly of 2023, it was about 73°F, with a dew point of 34°F and humidity at about 23%.  The air pressure was 28.92 inches and slowly dropping with a breeze out of the East at about 9 miles per hour under partly cloudy skies.

Hoping to see many more orange-and-black-winged visitors as the season progresses.

  LATITUDE:        40.92°
  LONGITUDE:   -77.76°

                                  -  Tim

Bellefonte, PA

Latitude: 40.9 Longitude: -77.8

Observed by: R. Timothy
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