- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
If you live in California, tagged monarchs from the migratory research project of entomologist David James of Washington State University may be heading your way.
One tagged monarch, a male, fluttered into our Vacaville pollinator garden on Sept. 5, 2016. Citizen scientist Steven Johnson of Ashland, Ore., tagged and released it on Aug. 28. It nectared on Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia rotundifola) and a butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) before heading to an overwintering site in coastal California.
The tag read “Monarch@wsu.edu A6093.”
James later told us: "So, assuming it didn't travel much on the day you saw it, it flew 285 miles in 7 days or about 40.7 miles per day. Pretty amazing."
If you see a tagged monarch ("quite a few are being tagged in southern Oregon," James says), try to take an image. Then detail the information (where spotted and when) and send it to the WSU entomologist at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more on his Facebook page, Monarch Butterfies in the Pacific Northwest.
Meanwhile, we've been seeing monarchs daily in our garden since late August. We spotted one monarch laying eggs on our tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, on Aug. 10. (That was her choice of milkweed: she ignored the narrow-leafed milkweed, A. fascicularis; the showy milkweed, A. speciosa; and the butterfly weed, A. tuberosa.)
On Sept. 5, two monarchs, a male and a female, eclosed, while a male monarch patrolled overhead. The newcomers dried their wings and fluttered off. Both managed to escape several predators: Western scrub jays, praying mantises, and assorted crab spiders.
Welcome to the world!