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Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: October 22, 1997

Here's the latest from Rocio Trevio, reporting from Saltillo: The migration has now advanced through the state of Coahuila, Mexico, and is most likely now entering the states of San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas (south of Coahuila).

We have an especially interesting variety of monarch sightings to report to today. Thanks to you all for helping to tell this story! Remember that full reports from observers are stored permanently in our database.

Visit the Journey North Monarch Migration Database

October 20, 1997 Coahuila, Mexico
"The monarchs have reached the southern portions of the state of Coahuila. They have reached the town of Saltillo where Rocio lives. There are thousands flying by daily. They seem to start their at about 8 am and are flying very high. Many observers have commented that there are more butterflies than ever this year. At the ranch of a friend, Rocio said the butterflies looked like an orange tapestry covering the fields in the morning. The monarchs have also been observed nectaring on sunflowers and local wild flowers. Rocio has even seen monarchs mating, a very unusual observation for this time of year! This year the monarchs have entered Mexico much farther west than normal. They are being seen in areas of the state of Chihuahua (west of Coahuila) where they have never been seen before. Rocio said that the monarchs are almost for sure now entering the states of San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas (south of Coahuila)."
Contributed by Rocio Trevio, Correo Real Monarch Education Program
Translated by Jon Dicus,
The Blake Schools.

As you read in our October 8 update, masses of monarchs collected for several weeks in Texas this fall. Southerly winds seemed to hold them in place. Finally a cold front pushed the first wave of butterflies into northern Mexico, and Rocio Trevio noted their arrival in Coahuila on October 13. Students at Bronte High School in Bronte, Texas submitted the following report today. Note that their observations coincide with this weather pattern.

September 29 - October 10 Bronte, Texas
"It has been awesome here in Bronte, Texas for Monarch butterfly watchers! Our small community is between Abilene and San Angelo on Highway 277. Each year we have a good showing of Monarchs, but this year was spectacular.

Monarchs drinking from a wet area in the grass.

"Thousands of Monarchs stopped over in our area. We all turned on our water sprinklers to help them on their journey. (Citizens are encouraged to water their lawns during the migration in Texas, to provide water for the migrating butterflies.) Many of the children had never seen them before and the school yard was covered on Monday, September 29 because of a heavy dew that morning. We are not very proficient in counting or estimating the numbers that visited us, but the ones who know say this was a banner year. They covered the ground, shrubs, trees, etc. where ever there was water. They were here for about a week and a half....until the next cool front helped them on their way south.

"There are a number of lakes and rivers on a line from Witchita Falls to Del
Rio that follows Highway 277 south. For some reason they do not show up
in some of our neighboring towns that are only 12 to 20 miles on either
side of us. Strange! Well, we truly enjoy the phenomenon."
Jerita Taylor, Science Teacher
Bronte High School

October 15 In the Gulf of Mexico!
"Dear Journey South, I was in Texas last week on a faculty development trip to Houston. While visiting an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico we saw Monarch butterflies! Some were dead but some were flying out there 15 miles from Galveston! When I got back to Minnesota last Saturday I found a few more stragglers. Hope they got out of here before the frost last night!"
Kathie Doerr, Breck School,
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Going, Going, Gone!
As the migration from Canada and the U.S. draws to a close this fall, we hope you are all watching for your LAST monarch of the year. How late in the season do you think monarchs will be found in your region? If you live in the Gulf States, please help us document whether monarchs remain in your region throughout the winter. In our next report we hope to include a listing of LAST monarch sightings from northern regions.

The Next Monarch Migration Update Will be Posted November 4, 1997