So Many Monarchs

Have you noticed what a good year it is for Monarch Butterflies? There have been lots of positive reports from around the city and further afield about the large numbers of Danaus plexippus being seen. On Saturday, I walked from Sunset Park to Park Slope and back again to pick up some baked goods. I was distracted: over two hours, I counted 51 Monarchs, the majority of them overhead, heading south towards Mexico along 5th Avenue. Detouring into Green-Wood, I found fourteen. Not one was in the pretty plantings, all exotica, at the neo-gothic gate at 25th Street — a good argument for pollinator-friendly plantings. Because up in the native meadow patch — the prototype of a much larger hillside native meadow project — there were at least half a dozen winking their enormous velvety wings. And in the extraordinarily productive low-growing Buddleja patch by Valley Water there were at least seven more. (Yes, this one spoils that native plant theory…) Normally, I only see one or two Monarchs around these candy purple flowers, which have been swarming with Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui) for a solid month and a half. Portrait of a Lady. There has also been a single Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) in this patch, as well as a whole crowd of skippers (and European Hornets trying to tackle everything). Note that small gap in the hind-wing of this individual; I’ve been seeing this one for a while now. Why go somewhere else to feed?

3 Responses to “So Many Monarchs”


  1. 1 Ellen October 9, 2017 at 7:24 am

    I noticed so many monarchs this weekend! Went to an apple orchard to pick apples and there were so many floating about. I was worried they should be gone by now. But I love seeing them, especially knowing the problems they have had.

    • 2 mthew October 9, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Looks they’re swarming today at NYBG amongst other places, so Saturday’s wave will continue. Weather not very conducive, though…

  2. 3 mthew October 10, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Reading a report that there were masses clustering at Plumb Beach, a little appendix of Brooklyn off the Belt Parkway, Monday, 10/9. Goldenrod-ing up.


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