Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Guest Entry from SE Michigan
Last Saturday you wrote: "One week ago, the Veggie Garden was filled with butterflies – big fat orange and black ones." I'm assuming the monarchs have finally reached your area. The interactive migration map at The Journey North says they were expected in San Diego after Oct. 24.
These were the only butterflies I knew by name as a child in Maryland, back when I could still recognize the milkweed they prize. The photo of them roosting en route is from the TJN site.
When I lived on the Florida Panhandle 30 years (!) ago, and despite the lack of data points on the referenced map today, they arrived en masse in the fall, as if they headed south until reaching the Gulf of Mexico and then turned right. I could not drive along the coastal highway without feeling like a murderer, as they got stuck in my front grill and windshield wipers and crunched under my tires. Honestly, the numbers put one in mind of a biblical plague — although an extraordinarily beautiful and harmless one. That was when I first learned of their epic migration and over-wintering in Mexico.
You, too, can help map their journey, either at the Journey North site above or at Monarch Watch. TJN says, "Large numbers of monarchs have now reached Mexico's overwintering region. By November 2nd, the tops of fifteen trees at the El Rosario sanctuary were covered with monarchs."