A very brief Monarch population status update – For the second year in a row, the Western Monarch population is seeing an uptick in numbers. The population is at roughly at 335,000, up from the historic low of only 2,000 counted in 2020. Two years of relatively good numbers gives us all hope the Western population can be saved.
It appears as though the Eastern Monarch population is not doing quite as well as last year. The final count for the winter of 2022- 2023 is not yet in. We’ll check back in on that count as soon as the graph becomes available.
Sunday afternoon, I’ll be screening Beauty on the Wing at the New Providence Memorial Library in New Jersey. New Providence is only about 20 minutes from my Mom and Aunt’s childhood home and it was at my Grandmother’s gardens where I first fell in love with the natural world.
I am also super excited to share that we will be screening Beauty on the Wing for school children (and grownups) across Prince Edward County on June 23rd. Prince Edward County in on Lake Ontario and is a late summer gathering point for Monarchs before crossing the Lake into the US. The entire long point peninsula on the South Shore of Prince Edward County is a designated International Monarch Butterfly Reserve (established in1995).
“The land area of the IBA (editor’s note- Canadian acronym for Important Bird Areas) is comprised of shallow soil over limestone bedrock with areas of alvar habitat. Much of the habitat consists of old field (savannah) and shrub thickets, with small deciduous and coniferous forests being present. In addition to several natural wetlands, the IBA contains two large wetland areas created after berm construction by Ducks Unlimited. The IBA is important for concentrations of migrating birds, bats and butterflies and also supports several rare vascular plants including Four-leaved Milkweed, Butternut, Bicknell’s Sedge, Short-stalked Chickweed, Brainerd’s Hawthorn, Limestone Hedge-hyssop, Green Arrow-arum, White-tinged Sedge, Eastern Few-fruited Sedge, Ram’s-head Lady’s-slipper, and Carolina Whitlow-grass. Largely undisturbed sites are important to ensure survival of these plants.”
The PEC south shore is also home to the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, where a diverse and extraordinary number of birds concentrate during migration.
Monarch and Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)