to Eastern Observers!
We begin with thanks to our observers in the East who are faithfully reporting
monarch observations even though few have seen more than a monarch or
two at a time and nobody has spotted a roost. Don't be discouraged! These
observations are helpful and important. Together we are documenting what
was truly a dismal summer breeding season. Please keep sightings coming,
Pennsylvania, Perkiomen Valley High School students watched
for 1.5 hours: "We saw only one male who was very tattered with
parts of the wing almost transparent from loss of wing scales."
New Jersey, Assumption Academy students watched
for 40 minutes: "Four monarch butterflies were flying south and
flew very close to the children." (9/21/09)
New York, Mount Markham Central School students watched for
"MacKenzie saw a monarch at recess and it was fluttering. The class
was out at noon."(9/16/09)
Wave of Migration Moves into Mid-Atlantic States
Monarch biologist Dr. Lincoln Brower noted a clear change on Sunday when
the number of monarchs increased dramatically at his home in Virginia.
Other observers throughout the Mid-Atlantic states noted the same wave
are finally here," Dr. Brower wrote from his home in Virginia.
He counted 48 fresh monarchs nectaring at 2:40 pm on Sunday, and counted
56 monarchs at 2 pm on Tuesday. "I was beginning to wonder if we
would have a migration this fall through the eastern side of the Blue
Ridge, at our home." (9/20/09 and 9/22/09)
Virginia, Spring Hill Elementary
students sighted "one monarch definitely migrating southwest during
lunch recess." (9/23/09)
Virginia, Trinity Lutheran School
students "noticed a beautiful Monarch flying around the flag pole
during World Peace Day." (9/21/09)
Traveling Unusual Pathway in Great Plains
Monarch roosts show us where there are large concentrations of butterflies,
so roosts reveal the primary pathways the monarch population travels during
cow!" exclaimed one monarch expert after seeing the most recent migration
map. In an unusual turn of events, monarch roosts appeared last week across
western Kansas, and even northwestern Oklahoma and Texas. This is nearly
200 miles west of the pathway the monarchs traditionally travel, based
on data collected over the past seven years and shown on this
live map. The monarchs are near the Colorado border, and are already
west of the overwintering sites in Mexico. (Notice the location of the
overwintering region, at longitude 100 W). Why are the monarchs so far
west? Did the unusual east winds in the Central Plains over the past few
weeks blow them there? Are they finding suitable habitat in this western
landscape, which is typically quite dry? What will happen next? Will they
continue to move westward, or will they drop down straight south into
west Texas? Mountains, deserts, forests, and oceans also influence the
monarch's traditional migration pathways. This fall, large numbers of
monarchs are migrating where only a few monarchs are usually seen. Something
is out of the ordinary!
Look at this migration
map journal page and compare this fall's migration pattern to
that in previous years. What pathway do you think the migration will
follow across Texas and Mexico this year? Explain your reasoning.
so many male monarchs?
This roost formed on Tuesday night in San Angelo, Texas. "It
seems the majority of monarchs in this shot are males," noted
the observer. Should this be expected?"
You can continue to follow the migration on this live map. Compare
this fall's migration pathways to those in previous years.
Butterfly Migration Updates Will be Posted on THURSDAYS: Aug. 27, Sep.
3, 10, 17, 24, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5...or until the monarchs reach
Next Monarch Migration Update Will Be Posted on October 1, 2009.