Even more monarchs

Peak monarch migration seems to now be moving through our area, with Mexican sunflowers and buddleias in our neighborhood being visited by 20-25 monarchs at a time.  Zinnias are also favorites.

The map shown below, from Journey North's real-time monitoring through citizen science efforts at schools and by individuals, indicates the abundance of PEAK sightings,  reflected by seeing many monarchs at the same time, either roosting, nectaring, or flying by.  The fall migration paths are much less predictable than spring migration, apparently, and whether we see them is also affected by favorable migration weather (they may stay high during migration for longer periods).

 I've never seen this kind of abundance here in Asheville before;  once on the South Carolina coast, I saw a buttonbush covered with monarchs in a similar way, but certainly not since, either in the Piedmont or mountains.

According to the migration maps I just looked at, northerly migration is more likely to come through the mountains, whereas the southern journey tends to follow the coast and midlands (explaining my Hilton Head sighting years ago).

from the U.S. Forest Service site on monarchs

 But this year's migration currently is showing peak migration sighting reports in our area.

From Journey North's PEAK migration setting in their current map
I'm wondering if Hurricane Florence has had an impact on the pattern this year, as almost certainly nectar-rich flower abundance was affected in the coastal areas.  There have been individual adults sighted and reported along the coast this year, but no peak sightings.   Looking at last year's maps, there were many fewer reports of PEAK migration throughout the Eastern U.S. Interesting.

There certainly are a LOT more here than I've ever seen -- it's an encouraging sight.


Jason said…
How exciting. I already miss the Monarchs. Getting my hopes up regarding the overwintering population numbers.