Fall's Journey South
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South News will be posted on Fridays:
Aug. 29, Sep. 5, 12, 19, 26, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Nov. 7. ...or until
the monarchs arrive in Mexico!
Journey South News
Migration Update: August 29, 2003
The first overnight roosts are now being reported from the northern
reaches of the monarch's breeding grounds. Patient observers there
who keep an eye skyward can see a southbound monarch drift across
the sky every few minutes. Monarch butterflies are born knowing the
way to Mexico. All that information is passed from generation to generation
inside an egg that's smaller than the head of a pin! As you learn
about monarchs, list all the things they're born knowing.
Migration Update: Sept. 5, 2003
The strongest migration of the season to date was reported last week
across Minnesota. Neighbors in Iowa are now noticing the influx as
monarchs move southward. A surprising report arrived from across the
ocean! Where do you think that monarch that landed in England come
from? As you monitor the migration, quantify your sightings by determining
the migration rate. For practice, tell us who saw the most monarchs
Migration Update: Sept. 12, 2003
It was peak migration in Iowa last week, and the monarchs have now
clearly moved into Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and even Missouri
and Kansas. The first big surge was reported along the East Coast,
with thousands reported along the shores of Long Island. Monarchs
fly free to Mexico when they glide in the wind or on a thermal. What's
a thermal, and what's it like to fly in one? This week: A field trip
in the sky to find out.
Migration Update: Sept. 19, 2003
A classic fall cold front plowed across North America this week, and
monarchs rode southward with the north winds in its wake. As Hurricane
Isabel hits land, how will migrating butterflies be affected? Migration
is not for babies. How do we know reports of "baby" monarch
butterflies are false? As the migration heads for Mexico, students
are watching. When do you predict the first monarchs will reach their
Migration Update: Sept. 26, 2003
Las primeras monarcas han cruzado la frontera. So if you can't read
Spanish, it's time to find a friend who can. Migrating monarchs are
now traveling across the land, from Canada all the way into Mexico.
When monarchs soar, they use 22 times less energy than during flapping
flight. This slow motion view of monarch flight shows why flapping
is so energy-expensive.
Migration Update: Oct. 3, 2003
Monarchs are now soaring into the Lone Star State of Texas,
in what appears to be one of the biggest migrations in years. Meanwhile,
the first substantial wave moved down the mid-Atlantic Coast. Salt
from Hurricane Isabel killed back the monarch’s best nectar
plants there. Why is nectar especially important to monarchs in the
fall? How far do monarchs travel in a day? Tagging stories tell interesting
Migration Update: Oct. 10, 2003
Texas is the only state on the migration pathway that all
monarchs must cross, and last week the migration was spectacular there.
Why is nectar is so important to monarch butterflies in the fall?
Now's the time they gain weight for the winter's 5-month fast and
store fuel for the round trip migration to Mexico and back.
Migration Update: Oct. 17, 2003
A big push across the border into Mexico occurred Wednesday.
“¡Por fin llegaron!, came the cry when clouds of monarchs
appeared. Butterflies continue to pour down from the far north.
Can these late season monarchs make it to Mexico? Analyze tagging
data and find out. Migration is one adaptation to survive lethally
cold northern winters. How do those that DON'T migrate survive?
Migration Update: Oct. 24, 2003
Monarch sightings are starting to pour in from Nuevo Leon
and Coahuila, Mexico. One person reported, "clouds of monarchs
all over our city." A treat this week: From NASA’s "Visible
Earth" website a satellite image of the region the monarchs
are now crossing. It's so large and detailed that the very mountain
tops the monarchs are approaching can be seen. Look down at earth
from space and follow the migration trail.
Migration Update: Oct. 31, 2003
“¡Las primeras mariposas han llegado!”
came the word from Michoacan. The first butterflies have arrived!
They’ve crossed the continent to a finish line only 73 miles
wide. Make a migration trail, to scale, so you can visualize this
feat. Monarchs typically reach the sanctuaries at the time of Dias
de Los Muertos. Video and photos in today’s update provide
a picture of this Mexican tradition.
Butterfly Migration Update: Nov. 7, 2003
Sanctuary trees are now filling with butterflies, and students
nearby are counting hundreds per minute as the monarchs arrive.
"Why do monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico every year instead
of some place else?" asked a student. When Journey North starts
in February, we’ll explore the key climatic factors that can
mean life and death for monarchs in Mexico. Get your weather station
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