|Monarch at Buffalo Park, Flagstaff in early July|
In general monarch sightings were unusually low throughout the state while the population appeared higher than earlier years in New Mexico, Nevada, even Utah. Reports from the state of Washington also seemed robust. So what happened here? It's unclear. Maybe a late freeze in the last days of May and early June in the higher elevation eliminated the spring migrants in the area. The cooler than normal spring as well as rain could have slowed reproduction and milkweed availability. Or strong monsoon winds could have shifted movements.
|Grand Canyon Butterfly Count|
|Steve Plath, Signature Botanica, Sept 23, 2015|
|Canelo July 2015|
The main migration this year seems late. Strong southerly winds could have easily caused a bottle-up in southerly movement. We are watching the skies and reports that filter in. Last year the monarch migration was also two weeks late. Warm temperatures in the southern deserts this weekend could also have slowed their progress. Our paper, Status of Danaus plexippus in Arizona published last June showed that we had the most recoveries (sightings in another location) when upper level winds blow from the northwest to the southeast or from the northeast to the southwest. This was a statistically significant finding.
Southwest Monarch Study Facebook page and if you are interested in tagging in the southwest there is still time to get tags before the main migration moves through.
Note: Three monarchs were sighted at Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior recently. If we see any monarchs we will tag them as part of this Saturday's Butterfly Walk at Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior beginning at 9 a.m.