Journey North News

Final Monarch Butterfly Migration Update:
July 23, 1996

Summer greetings from Journey North! This is our final monarch migration update of the season. Thank all of you for your help in monitoring these winged wonders. We hope you'll be back to track the monarchs' journey north again next spring!

You'll find the latest news about migrating monarchs below. If you have not yet reported your first monarch of the season, you're welcome to do so any time! Sightings should be sent to: jn-

Just think.....A monarch you see today is most likely a grandchild of the monarchs that overwintered in Mexico. By late July, two generations of monarchs have usually been produced. During the month of August, the monarch generation that will migrate to Texas will be produced. This fall, in celebration of the monarchs' amazing journey south, you're invited to "Send a Monarch to Mexico" as described in the attached message.

Spring, 1996 was a highly unusual migration, as your data have shown. It will be fascinating to compare this year's migration to those in future years. According to Rod Murray, a Canadian teacher participating in Journey North, Dr. Lincoln Brower was interviewed live from Wisconsin where he was conducting a monarch count on June 18th. Given the low count this spring, Brower estimates the fall migration may be down by as much as 80%.

Monarch Sightings Reported During June and July, 1996:

05/10/96.....Newport News, VA.....(36.584 N,76.254 W)
05/17/96.....Seymour, IN..........(38.573 N, 85.532 W)
05/20/96.....St. Louis, MO........(38.373 N,90.115 W)
05/20/96.....Wellers Bay, ONT.....(44.200 N,77.500 W)
05/24/96.....Patterson, MO.....(Wayne County)(37.111 N,90.330 W)
05/24/96.....Vineland Station,ONT.(44.330 N, 79.700 W)
05/27/96.....Franklin County,NC...(36.040 N,78.200 W
05/28/96.....Jackson Co., MN......(43.300 N,96.000 W)
05/28/96.....Worthington, MN......(43.371 N,95.354 W)
05/29/96.....Pontotoc Ridge Nature Preserve,OK..... (S.of Ada)..(34.454 N,96.391 W)
05/30/96.....Conard Environ.Research Area Grinnell,IA..... (41.443 N, 92.432 W)
05/30/96.....Petersburg, Huntingdon Co.,PA..... (40.342 N, 78.025 W)
06/01/96.....Shartlesville, PA....(40.304 N,76.061 W)
06/02/96.....N.shore of Lake Michigan, MI,Macinac Co..... (46.053N, 85.265 W)
06/02/96.....Smyrna, DE..........(39.175 N,75.361 W)
06/05/96.....Bellefonte, PA......(40.544 N,77.464 W)
06/05/96.....Elmont, NY..........(40.420 N,73.424 W)
06/06/96.....Hingham, MA.........(42.143 N,70.532 W)
06/09/96.....Town of Kirkland, Oneida County, NY..... (43.044N,75.230 W)
06/09/96.....Lancaster, PA.......(40.021 N, 76.182 W)
06/14/96.....Newington, CT.......(41.415 N,72.432 W)
06/14/96.....Wethersfield, CT....(41.425 N,72.391 W)
06/15/96.....Hawk Mt, Kempton, PA...(40.384 N,75.584 W)
06/17/96.....Guys Mills, PA..... (41.374 N,79.584 W)
06/20/96.....Wayzata, MN.........(44.582 N,93.302 W)
06/22/96.....Jamestown, NC.......(33.170 N,79.413 W)
06/25/96.....Beach Haven, NJ.....(39.333 N,74.143 W)
07/04/96.....Wayzata, MN.........(44.582 N,93.302 W)

Comments From Observers

(BEWARE: Nine pages of notes follow. PRINT WITH CAUTION!)

May 10, 1996
On May 10th, the granddaugther of one of our Volunteers, Tede Johnson, sighted a female Monarch in grandma's backyard, possibly laying eggs on their common milkweed. The backyard is located in the Stoneybrook neighborhood in northern Newport News, Virginia. Today, May 17th, Tede reported two caterpillars just visible to the naked eye on her milkweed. The milkweed in her garden is currently in bud. We usually see the first Monarchs in late April (average date of last frost here is April 20th). The sighted monarch was a "nice bright one" with, wings in excellent condition. We're not officially registered, but thought you would like to know!
Judy Molnar, Education Associate

May 20 & 24
One monarch was sighted on May 20th in St. Louis, Missouri. It was fluttering about 10-12 feet high. Another was sighted on May 24th in Patterson, Missouri. (Patterson is in Wayne County). The monarch was fling about 10 feet high. Common milkweed was 1-2 feet tall and butterfly weeds were 6-10" tall. Neither species is yet in flower.
Rod and Wanda Doolen
Sam A Baker State Park
Route 1, Box 114
Patterson, MO 63956

May 20, 1996
I received the report below from Tom Hince, Chief Naturalist, Point Pelee National Park, who often appears on the Discovery Channel in Canada. Tom is an outstanding birdwatcher.
Don Davis

"I got the following observation via email from Dave Davis ( from Kingston, Ont.

"On the Monday May 20th holiday, weekend, my wife and I were at our property on Wellers Bay, just south of the carrying place Ontario, just off lake Ontario 5 miles south of Trenton. It was about four in the afternoon when I spotted a female monarch butterfly. Now I think this is way too early fro these migratory travelers to have migrated this far north at this time of year, yet we observed her for about a minute close enough to determine her sex before she fluttered off over some bushes..." From: (Donald Davis)

May 24, 1996
The first monarch of the year sighted today at Vineland Station,Ontario on the south shore of L.Ontario at 10:15 EST in sunshine and a cool 12 degrees Celsius outdoors. Only a couple of very small common milkweed plants have emerged in this region to date. Spring has been wet, cool and slightly behind normal.
From: (Donald Davis)
From: "Ed Barszcz \"\"" <BARSZCZE@ONRSVI.AGR.CA>

May 27, 1996
I saw 2 monarchs on Monday, May 27, in Franklin County, N.C. about 40 miles north of Raleigh, N.C. These were the first ones I'd seen this year. Both looked fresh and newly emerged. Thanks for the great work you are doing!
Mary Ann Brittain, N.C. State Museum of Natural Sciences

May 28, 1996
Summer will be here soon!! After many weeks of mostly cloudy and cool weather we have had 2 warm days and have finally had a monarch sighting! Ashley Markus and Melissa Ulbricht saw the bright wings of a monarch butterfly over our playground on May 28.
Second Graders
Sioux Valley Elem
Jackson Co. MN 43.30N 96.W
Mrs. Wiese (SV School Wiese)

May 28, 1996
We would like to report a Monarch sighting.
Hi We seen a monarch May 28 4PM Worthington, MN. Flying North My son Ryan seen it. Sunny 75.F Your Welcome
Tom Middagh

May 29, 1996
Yesterday, May 29th, I observed a large number of monarchs (about 30-40) at Pontotoc Ridge nature preserve which is 16 miles south of Ada, Ok. They were mostly nectaring on purple cone flowers and also on milkweed. There is an abundance of milkweed at the place of several different varieties. I observed that one of the butterflies looked very old and beat up, but the others all looked very fresh. The weather was partly cloudy and about 80 degrees at midday.

From IOWA:
May 30, 1996
First monarch sighting: 5/30/96, on Grinnell College Conard Environmental Research Area (bio preserve) near Grinnell, Poweshiek County, Iowa. Fair sunny weather after series of cold wet days, butterfly flying by, about 2:30 pm, looked like a very fresh individual. Reconstructed prairie and mixed oak woodland.
John Whittaker, Dept of Anthropology, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa 50112. John C Whittaker <WHITTAKE@AC.GRIN.EDU>

May 30, 1996
Subject: monarch watch
Just wanted to touch base with you. I still have not seen a Monarch myself. I can't believe it. I did however get a note from two friends that I had watching for me. One was spotted May 30. Location: Huntingdon Co. PA -- Petersburg. It was flying north on a nice sunny day in the 60's with light winds. The second was spotted June 7. Same general location. It was stormy weather--showers and thunderstorms and temperatures in the upper 70's. If you need more information, just drop me a line. I hope things are going well. Milkweed is now about 6 to 10 inches high. Thanks! JD
Shaver's Creek Environmental Center
(Part of Penn State Univ. but off campus)
508A Keller Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802
Contact: John Drummond

June 1, 1996
Subject: monarch-pa
A monarch was sighted atop the Kittatinny Ridge west of Hawk Mountain near Shartlesville PA on June 1st. None at Hawk Mt. yet.
Laurie Goodrich

June 1, 1996
Sightings of monarchs in SW Idaho:

3 monarchs--separate sightings between 1500 - 1600 hrs, 1 June 1996.
- 15 miles SW of Grand View, Owyhee County, on the Mud Flat Road.
- flying NE, nonstop, about 20' above the surface; one occasionally dipped to the surface but did not stop.
- clear skies, hot (90 degrees F).
- observer, George Stephens, Boise, ID.

1 monarch--sighted afternoon, 7 June 1996
- ca 30 miles SW of Grand View, Owyhee County, on the Mud Flat Road.
- clear skies, hot (95 degrees F).
- observer, Dr. Clifford Ferris, Laramie, WY.

George Stephens
Fish and Game Data Coordinator
Conservation Data Center
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
P.O. Box 25
Boise, ID 83707
CDC home page:

June 2, 1996
Saw one monarch male 2 June 96, 5PM, within 200 meters of North shore of Lake Michigan, 17C, sunny, but rained all day. Location- Hwy 2, 2km East of Naubinway, MI.,Macinac Co. Tulips, Prunus, dandelions were only flowering species. Trees just began leafing this past week.
Wayne Wehling
Department of Entomology
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1115

June 2, 1996
The first monarch of the season was sighted on June 2. First milkweed appeared on May 16th.
Paul Daly
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Smyrna, Delaware

June 5, 1996
Subject: First Monarch Butterfly
Seen: June 5, 1996 at 12:30 pm flying over a field in Bellefonte, PA . Butterfly was in good condition and the weather was warm about 70F and sunny. Saw the butterfly while returning back to work from lunch. Best regards,
Mr. Carmen Santasania

June 5, 1996
On June 5, 1996 Allie Cappellino and Ericka Bolte spotted a single monarch in the School yard of Covert Avenue School at lunch time, 1:15. It had perfect wings. Phyllis Richards, Computer Lab teacher
Elmont Schools, Elmont, NY

June 6, 1996
Monarch sighting: Boston, MA -actual sighting was in Hingham
Cyndie Connolly - Park Interpreter, Wompatuck State Park

June 9, 1996
first sighting of a monarch:
June 9, 1996, 4:00 p.m.
observer: Ernest H. Williams rural area, township of Kirkland (near village of Clinton), Oneida County, New York, USA
flying, perched momentarily on vegetation, then moved on female monarch, in very good condition, little sign of wear warm, mostly sunny afternoon, mid 70's F butterfly not tagged. My son reported seeing a monarch about 5 days before this, but there is no further information to go with this sighting.

June 14, 1996
Subject: Butterfly Sightings in Newington and Wethersfield Connecticut
Dear Journey North:
We are happy to report that we have finally seen our first Monarchs of the year last week; one in Newington and another in Wethersfield. Both towns are located outside of Hartford.
Thank for your efforts to make us all aware of the world around us.
Mary Claffey, Science Center School, West Hartford, CT
3-year old teacher

June 15, 1996
We had our first monarch officially on Hawk Mt on Saturday the 15th of June--we always get things later than in the valleys around here--probably due to altitude impact on phenology of plants. Glad to hear of your interest in Hawk Mt. We have an annual fall ct of migrating Monarchs too--which I will be happy to share with you and others if that is of interest--we start daily cts on 15 August...Laurie Goodrich

June 17, 1996
June 17, 1996 - I saw my first monarch today, (I actually saw two different monarchs today!). Both butterflies were in a mixed-forb type habitat with about a 5-10% milkweed component. The wings of both monarchs were in good condition. The milkweed seems to be plentiful this year, although is is not as abundant as it once was in this area.

I observed the monarchs at my place of work, Erie National Wildlife Refuge in Guys Mills, Pennsylvania. Our nearest large town is Meadville, and our nearest big city is Erie. Best Regards,
Marnee J. Gormley
Wildlife Biologist
Erie National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

June 20 & June 22
I finally saw my first monarch of the season! It was flying around the edge of basefall field, landing occasionally on clover flowers. The weather was warm and sunny, about 75 degrees. June 22nd the second monarch was seen near a soccer field, flying about 20 feet above the ground.
Elizabeth Donnelly, Journey North
Wayzata, Minnesota

June 22, 1996
Coincidently, I just learned about your program and saw my first monarch the next day! I saw the monarch on June 22nd in Jamestown, North Carolina. Monarchs are not very common here in the middle of the state. Although we have healthy populations of several species of milkweedss, it's an odd thing that folks in the mountains and toward the coast see more monarchs than we do.
Dennis Burnette
Carolina Butterfly Society
Greensboro, North Carolina

June 25, 1996
Beach Haven, New Jersey
Ocean County, Long Beach Township
E.B. Forsythe NWR
Southern New Jersey

July 4, 1996
For the first time today, I saw a monarch in my butterfly garden. It was a female, very faded in color. She flew from one milkweed plant to the next, but seemed to skip plants rather than visit each neighboring plant--perhaps a strategy so as not to lay all eggs in one place. While she appeared to touch the leaves with her abdomen, no eggs were found. This was only the 3rd monarch I've seen this year.
Elizabeth Donnelly
Wayzata, Minnesota

Other Notes About Monarchs

May 18, 1996
Kari Peterson and Beth Ryan, Mrs. Cansler's 7th grade science class at Willow Creek Middle School, Rochester, MN: We found two monarch eggs (verified by Mrs. Cansler) on Common Milkweed plants (Asclepias Syriaca). The plants averaged 41 cm. in height and were growing on an elevated berm next to our school building. The eggs are still pearly white in color. We will report to you when they hatch. We hypothesize that the eggs came from a wild female. The last female of the classroom population that we have been maintaining all year died on 5/15. We received a replacement from Dr. Oberhauser--but it died shortly thereafter. We have not yet sighted any monarchs in Rochester, but reported a sighting 20 miles S.E. in Chatfield on 5/18.
Thank you!

June 13, 1996
At least 4, and perhaps as many as 10, monarch butterflies were observed foraging and pursuing each other at the York Soaring Association glider field on June 13 between about 5:15 and 6:30 (DST). The glider field is about 7 km east of Arthur, Ontario in Wellington County. The count is uncertain because the butterflies were observed as they approached two lilac bushes in flower, nectared for awhile and than either flew on, circled back, or began to forage among dandelions on the runway. However, four individuals were observed in flight at one time - 2 in pursuit of a third while a forth flew towards the W. I was able to examine two individuals closely (not necessarily any of the previous 4) while they nectared. Both were females with slightly faded wings. One had what appeared to be several faint scratch marks (from vegetation?) where lines of scales were missing on the underside of the left forewing.

The sun was shining during the observations, the wind was from the W at about 10 - 15 km/hr, and the temperature was about 22 degrees. Weather for the past three days has been typical `southern flow - wind south to southwest, hot and humid, frequent cloudly periods, occasional showers, and heavy afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Wind direction had not been noted when I arrived at the glider field at about 4:30 but by the time of the first sightings the wind had swung to the west as a drier air mass began to move in.
David L. Gibo, Zoology Department
Erindale Campus, University of Toronto
Mississauga, Ontario Canada L5L 1C6

June 14, 1996
Subject: Butterfly News
The three monarch butterfly eggs that I rescued on Monday from certain death via the lawn mower hatched last night and are already very mobile and proving to be voracious eaters!
From: "Donald A. Davis" <>

June 19, 1996
I have yet to observe a monarch and have only recently been noticing tiger swallowtails. The milkweed on my property is only a 6-8 inches high.
John Soehnlein
Janesville, WI 53545

This is the FINAL Monarch Butterfly Migration Update of Spring, 1996.

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