Off-season monarchs

Monarchs, the state butterfly of Texas and five other states, are migratory and are most prevalent in north central Texas in spring and fall, generally April, May, September, October and November. This year, however, there have been reports of sightings all the way into July when the monarch should be enjoying their northern-most area on both sides of the US-Canadian border.
This has created a discussion on the international monarch d-plex mailing list that inspired local Monarch Watch coordinator Carol Clark to post her theory:
“My feeling from all my sightings and other informal reports is that a lot more Monarchs than usual got stranded in North Texas this year when the migration window closed, and probably some more than usual in Central Texas too. The ones I’ve seen this summer have been surprisingly large. Nothing about this year in North Central Texas is normal in terms of weather, flora and fauna. Up until a couple of weeks ago, the weather had been cooler and rainier than usual, so lots of things are still blooming well, and native milkweeds are still out and available–some still blooming or re-blooming last week.”
Usually this time of year we frequently see the monarch cousins and look-alike the queen butterflies but they have so far been scarce.

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Thanks so much for sharing such up-to-date information about the monarchs. Like so many others in north Texas, I’ve seen several in my own garden and in the PlantTAGG-enabled garden at Lakewood Elementary. We spotted a few caterpillars a couple of weeks ago, and now we have a monarch chrysalis, too. Hoping they do well!

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