Sunday, July 10, 2016

Monarch Sighting!

This weekend we had a Monarch Butterfly sighting at the Red House Garden!

Monarch butterfly on Rose Milkweed
This is a big deal here, as this is only the second Monarch I've seen in the last three years since moving up to Massachusetts.  It's also a cause for celebration, as Monarch numbers have been on the decline in recent years.  We having been fighting against the real possibility that their Great Migration, which encompasses several generations of butterflies and thousands of miles across North America, could face extinction.


Gardeners across America have been planting nectar plants and Milkweed plants, which is what their caterpillars eat, in order to help the butterflies out. We were very optimistic after reports this winter showed that the numbers of Monarchs overwintering in Mexico had increased significantly...

Graph of area covered by the Monarch overwintering population in Mexico
graph by WWF
Unfortunately, an unexpected disaster struck.  In early March, right as the Monarch butterflies were coming out of hibernation, a large winter storm hit Mexico.  Millions of Monarchs were killed.


Thus it gives me great hope to see a Monarch way up here, especially one early in the season.


This one is a female Monarch.


Here's hoping for babies!


28 comments:

  1. That is super exciting! We haven't had any Monarch cats in our garden in years. Fall migration is when they are most likely to visit our garden, we rarely see them in spring. I hope you find some cats on your milkweed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only other time I saw one up here was in fall, so I'm super excited to see one on the way up! Definitely hoping to see some babies on my milkweed!

      Delete
  2. Hooray! Seeing the first Monarch is always exciting, and it does give hope that there will be more, especially since yours is a female. I know in my area more and more people are becoming aware of the plight of the Monarch and planting more milkweed. That's a step in the right direction at least.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is so great to see garden clubs, conservation organizations, and organizations of all kinds spreading awareness about the monarch. Even though I know government agencies are starting to work towards helping with planting milkweed, I really think it's all the individuals across the continent that are making a difference and will continue to do so, hopefully with continually improving results!

      Delete
  3. Wonderful you are seeing the Monarch. I can never tell if we see migrating Monarchs, or those raised by a Monarch butterfly conservation and release program. I suspect since I see quite a few, it is the result of the release program, which releases weekly all over Western New York.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting, and what a great way to contribute to monarch numbers. I don't know of any release programs around here, though you never know. It would be fascinating to know where this monarch is from. She had a small tear on the back of one wing, so she's been flying for at least a little while before I saw her.

      Delete
  4. I have a small area of common milkweed but have seen only one monarch this spring/summer. I want to help them, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So great to see people all over helping the monarchs out!

      Delete
  5. Congratulations!
    And may you welcome many more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Diana. That is my hope!

      Delete
  6. Wonderful pictures! I have not seen a monarch yet this year. I saw only a few last year. I miss seeing more these lovelies. Hopefully their population will continue to grow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hoping you see some this year, too!

      Delete
  7. Yay! That is good news! I do hope all our efforts will pay off in the future. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the efforts are obviously paying off as there was an increase in the overwinter population this year. Sadly the storm was so badly timed :(

      Delete
  8. Terrific shots of the Monarch. Last year I was extremely pleased with the different types of butterfly visiting our garden. This year it has been a total washout with the terrible weather.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is too bad. It is weird to see how butterfly populations fluctuate. We seem to have fewer butterflies than normal this year, but I'm not sure if it is the weird weather we've been having or invasive moths eating up all the food or what.

      Delete
  9. Wow! Beautiful! I hope many more will visit your garden this summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I've been keeping an eye out!

      Delete
  10. Exciting! You are lucky having these visitors to your gardens, over here in Britain we might occasionally see one that has got lost from Spain or Canary Islands and they come up on warm winds through France – but sightings of them are very rare.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is great that there are monarch populations all over the world, so that even if our Great Migration goes extinct, the monarchs have a chance. So interesting you see them even up there!

      Delete
  11. Ah, wonderful! I haven't seen any monarchs this year, I hope that changes soon. We have plenty of milkweed for them. Love the photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hoping your milkweed entices some monarchs too!

      Delete
  12. Great job!

    Is that on Asclepias incarnata?

    I've got a bunch of swamp milkweed / rose milkweed growing in my garden, but haven't seen any monarchs this year yet. Maybe yours will migrate down here and continue the circle of life? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's Asclepias incarnata. I have a lot of it, so I'm really hoping for babies! Here's hoping you see some too down there!

      Delete
  13. That's great news, and it looks like she'll be happy on the milkweed for a while at least!
    None here yet, but we haven't seen many the last few years. It's only when they head back South that they swing around to this end of Pennsylvania.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was really thrilled to see one on the way up, as the only other monarch I've seen up here was a poor tattered one in fall. Here's hoping you see more this year!

      Delete
  14. I have loads of milkweed and have already had one caterpillar. Yay for monarchs and their babies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so exciting!! Very awesome!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...