Monarch Fall Roost

Date: 09/12/2009

Number: 300

The last 3 evenings have brought in hundreds of monarchs to the cedar and pines around our house.

September 12

Monarchs started to arrive on the 12th. The wind was from the northeast. The temperature was 75F when they started to arrive at 6:30 p.m. and by 9:00 p.m. it cooled down a lot (like to 66F). September 12th was our largest gathering, I would estimate 300 monarchs. They were totally gone by 10:00 the next day, as it warmed up. This year the monarchs are roosting high on the northwest side of a cedar tree, and about midway on the north side of some pine trees. The last 2 years the roosts have always been the east side, which made good sense since the sunrise would seem to warm them earlier there.

September 13

On the night of the 13th they came in around 7:30 again. The new groups moved to two spots, 1) the original cedar tree (I estimate 100 monarchs there) and 2) a second gathering 50 yards south of that on pine trees (possibly 50 monarchs). We watched until dark.

September 14

Last night was the smallest gathering in both locations. I estimate 75 monarchs in original cedar tree and possibly 40 monarchs in the pines. (There really could be more higher in the pines, though it's tough to count there with pines and cedars mixed.)

September 15

Last night, the 15th, I could only see 15 monarchs on the one tree, roosting on the south side. Cool day (72) with drizzles of rain most of the day. During the day I only spotted 2 flying around the pines. Night temperature was 52 degrees. Wind was from the northeast. Since I tag, I have never seen any of the tagged ones hanging around for a second day. Of course I could miss it! Today is supposed to be clear, with high of 82, low of 51 maybe that will move some around.

September 16

Monarchs started arriving at 7:00 pm. The temperature was 75F with a slight wind from the east. I estimate 40 monarchs arrived in one hour, with 10 stragglers last seen at 8:30. Roosting high in the center of the pine trees. (Another 15 flew over in that period and seemed to just keep flying.) All came from the northeast.

September 17

Two separate sightings. First 11:00 a.m. group of 18 Monarchs feasting on wildflowers. Temp. 80, wind 5 mph from north. Did not see them fly in, but in the next 30 minutes 10 more joined in. All gone by 11:45. Second sighting, same date, 7:15 p.m., wind northeast about 2-5 mph. temp. at 73, monarchs started gathering in the pines mostly. Very randomly not really grouping at all, but mostly in the centers of the trees. Counted 42 in one hour. Next 30 minutes 11 joined them.

September 18

Just an update about September 18th. Checking out the roosting spots only one monarch came in. Saw no others flying either. Temp 69, winds 5 mph from south. Overnight low was 47 degrees on the 18th. Maybe the night time roosts for this area are over!

September 19

I will check again tonight. It will be interesting if the ones stopping to feed at the noon time are there tonight.

September 20
Winds S at 17 mph, temp 74 and dropping. Spotted only 7 monarchs in 3 different places at roost. All on the north of the trees and very low. The large roosting seems to be over but I will post if that changes. Night temps have been down to 53-50, getting cool. Sunset times close to 7:30 p.m.

We are in the country. We are surrounded by corn fields that are not harvested yet. Our 10 acres abound with wild sunflowers, thistles (we leave a lot of them for the monarchs), milkweed in all stages, many wild flowers, and the wild plums are past ripe with a strong aroma. (The wild plums outline our acreage on 3 sides.) I have a garden area just for butterflies. It's full of cosmos, zinnias, marigold and coneflower. Three purple butterfly bushes are on edge the of the garden area.

This is the fifth year they have roosted here, though they're a little earlier this year. We also tag for Monarch Watch, and easily went through our 100 tags this year. Monarchs seem larger this year, and much more orange.

Google Maps

Seward, NE

Latitude: 40.9 Longitude: -97.1

Observed by: Cathy
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