|Rio Salado first generation, 4/11|
|Wenima Wildlife Area - Springerville|
The ground was dry, cracked, brittle, parched. The grassy fields were like straw and stunted.
Horsetail or Poison Milkweed, Asclepias subverticillata, was also pushing through the grasses. While buds were already forming, the plants were noticeably shorter and drought-stressed. A year ago we saw queen butterflies laying eggs during mid-June on these milkweed favorites, but now no orange wings appeared despite the perfect temperature and weather conditions.
|Wenima, Southeast meadow|
Our dream is to return to Wenima in a few weeks and see it once again teeming with life. But I am concerned about reports from the Eastern monarch population pointing towards the possibility of a lower than expected fall migration again this year. Dr. Lincoln Bower reported in mid-June that he visited northern Wisconsin with Su Borkin and Julie Hein for their 25th year monarch adult and immature census conducted from June 10 to 12. They counted lower adult monarchs than usual. They found 70 eggs on 100 Asclepias syriaca plants and no larvae at all. At the time of their observations the milkweed was only about 8 inches tall. Dr. Chip Taylor shared his thoughts about the possible effect of weather in the summer breeding areas that could effect the fall migration. Much can change in the monarch's favor in the next six weeks. For us in Arizona the monsoon rains could be a blessing. Rain can soothe our drought and dampen our temperatures. For the monarchs, that is all good.