From the Atlantic Coast to Texas, it was a big week for migration. After several days of rain in the east, high pressure moved in, the sun came out, and so did the monarchs. The map of peak migration is filled with reports like these:
"We were at recess and counted 65 monarchs fluttering across the playground on their way south." Union Avenue School, Margate, NJ
"Monarchs flew south for migration over the building!" We thought it was a good idea to tell everyone about it." Leeds Avenue School, Pleasantville, NJ
Tagged Monarch Found!
A New Jersey teacher from JC Caruso School found quite a surprise when he captured a monarch in his backyard this week: "I realized it was one we released at my school 7 days earlier, 22 miles north of where we live."
Hugging the Coast
Monarchs travel down the Atlantic coast to avoid the open ocean. Habitat on the shore can be critical for monarchs, especially those that were blown out to sea:
"While on the beach they were coming off the ocean in groups...continually! Some were so tired they were seen resting on the beach. Others were flying in groups toward the dunes and heading for food and cover for the night." Long Beach Island, NJ
Denise Gibbs monitors migration on Virginia's Assateague Island. She estimates 5,000 monarchs were roosting there on Tuesday night. This is the largest report of the season outside of Texas. Migration was strong all day:
"The monarchs migrated down the beach in a continuous stream from 8:15am to 6:15pm. The average was about 600 per hour."
Why the Ohio River?
Spontaneously on Tuesday, people along the Ohio River reported a huge wave of migration. Why so many monarchs along a 50-mile stretch of the river?
"More monarch butterflies than have ever seen! They continue to pass by, even as I sit here typing this. More that 200 per hour. A continuous stream." Yorkville, OH
Funneling into Texas
All monarchs headed for Mexico must cross Texas, and the butterflies began to arrive in substantial numbers this week. Look at the map to see how far west many monarchs are:
"I just spoke to a rancher who has thousands roosting in pecan orchards near Valentine."
"Monarchs have invaded in mass! They are literally everywhere. Every flower patch has hoards hovering." Midland, TX
"The trees are dripping with monarchs. They are so thick in the air I can hear and feel the wing beats." Ft. Stockton, TX