Alert! Monarchs coming through!!!
After seeing almost no butterflies all summer long, it was an incredible treat. When we were on Bolivar Peninsula last week, huge monarchs seem to be everywhere. Not massive numbers, just noticeable.
Is the annual migration underway?
Yes, and we’re seeing more than usual, says Nancy Greig of the Cockrell Butterfly Center.
“Houston is on the “coastal flyway” which gets a lot less monarch traffic than the main route they take, which is west of us, through Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, etc,” explains Nancy.
“But Thursday we noticed lots and lots of monarchs in our outdoor butterfly garden, stopping for nectar before heading on – and they were definitely all flying southwest. We tagged 11 of them since we had some tags from Monarch Watch.”
She also hears there are big numbers in Corpus Christi now. However, Nancy warns, despite these sightings, the predictions are for a relatively small migration this year (at least in terms of overall numbers) because the monarchs have had a tough summer (cold and rainy up north, drought in the south).
For this reason, she’s convinced that butterfly gardens, such as those around the Museum of Natural Science in Hermann Park (where the Cockrell is located) have become very important waystations.
If you’ve never visited the Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Museum of Natural Science in Hermann Park, you’re missing out on one of Houston’s true treasures — for children and adults alike.
The Audubon Society has an incredible habitat rebuilding website for Bolivar Peninsula. It lists numerous habitat-important plants for not only the birds these members want to attract, but for butterflies as well. Numerous butterfly counts take place on Bolivar, which is part of birders’ International Flyway.