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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Nov 22, 2011 4:52 PM CST
For more information on the Monarch Watch program: http://www.monarchwatch.org/index.html


----
Monarch Population Status
----
In the last update of the eastern monarch population (late September,
we noted that it would be interesting to see how monarchs cope with
the lack of nectar and water in Texas. We knew that the migration would
make it through Texas (and Northern Mexico) but we didn't know what
impact the drought conditions would have on it.

Modest numbers of monarchs have already arrived at the overwintering
sites in Mexico and they will continue to arrive through the end of
the month. Preliminary reports indicate that the monarchs are spread
out over an area of four hectares or so at this time but we expect
this area to shrink in the coming weeks as the masses of monarchs
become more consolidated.

Our predictions regarding the size of the overwintering monarch
population still stand (down this year*); official measurements will
be done in late December and we will report the findings in an update
after the first of the year.

Stay tuned!

*It is too late for rains to change the situation in TX and northern MX. Monarchs will make it to the overwintering sites but their numbers will be significantly reduced by these conditions. My expectation is that that the overwintering numbers will be the lowest ever (previous low 1.92 hectares) and that the arriving butterflies will be in relatively poor shape with low fat reserves. If the average condition (mass) of the overwintering monarchs is lower than average, mortality during the winter could also be high. Other scenarios could include low returning numbers next spring with a reduced reproductive capacity due to low fat reserves. Keep your fingers crossed that there are no winter storms in MX that could make matters worse.

It will be interesting to see how monarchs cope with the lack of nectar and water as they move through TX. Monarchs, like most insects, have hygroreceptors (sense organs that are sensitive to humidity gradients); therefore, when conditions are extremely dry, we might expect monarchs to seek out the darkest and most humid habitats. If this plays out, most monarchs will accumulate in drainages, along rivers, move in an out of forests, and concentrate around other water sources.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
[Last edited by SongofJoy - Dec 7, 2011 10:57 AM (+)]
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Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Nov 22, 2011 5:17 PM CST
Hopeing for an END to the drought and a mild winter in Mexico. Really, I feel so badly for all the wildlife...it's ridiculous!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Nov 23, 2011 7:09 AM CST
Absolutely, Linda. It is a nightmare in so many ways and causing so much havoc. Planting for the Monarchs (and everything else) will be more important than ever after all this.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
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LindaTX8
Nov 23, 2011 10:55 AM CST
It's hard...the ethical decisions people have to make here. Do I conserve water use to the nth degree and delay any more consequences to people, but doom the wildlife even more than they already are? Or fudge on the water restrictions a bit and help wildlife the best I can? Do I let the less-than-xeriscape plants go and just go head and kill them? Or water them occasionally as they suffer a slower death? *sigh!* Life should be easier than this!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Nov 23, 2011 11:14 AM CST
That's an huge ethical dilemma. I hope the need for people to choose is over soon and the rain is abundant.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
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sheryl
Nov 23, 2011 6:13 PM CST
Awful choices, Linda. I hope the winter brings lots of gentle rains.
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Nov 23, 2011 7:32 PM CST
Well...we DO have a decent chance on Friday! Crossing my fingers and hoping for rain!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Nov 23, 2011 8:50 PM CST
Crying The whole blamed mess is sad.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Nov 24, 2011 3:07 AM CST
I agree
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Janice
Cape Cod, MA, USA (Zone 7a)
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sandnsea2
Nov 24, 2011 10:35 AM CST
Parts of NC have seen drought for portions of each year for more than the last 10 years.
Not as severe as what Texas is experiencing now, but bad enough that trees have died out and habitat altered.
I spoke with a climatologist at the National office and asked:
How long does a weather situation need to exist in an area, before they declare that a regional climate has actually permanently changed?
He hemmed and hawed.....
So don't know what is going on here.

You can click on your state for details:

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/monitor.html
[Last edited by sandnsea2 - Nov 24, 2011 10:38 AM (+)]
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Nov 24, 2011 10:53 AM CST
Thanks for the link, Janice. We have swung all over the place as far as precip here the past several years. Spring has been too wet with lots of flooding and then summers have been hot and unusually dry. Now the Fall rains have started and rainfall seems about normal. Winter is predicted to be wetter than usual but warmer. I do think overall, our precip may be down from "normal". Or what normal used to be anyway.

I wish he'd given you an answer to that question about climate change. At least I think I do. Sad
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Dec 1, 2011 5:13 AM CST
I sure wish I could send you folks some of our rain. This has been our wettest year ever recorded. Our previous yearly record was 57". So far this year, we're at 66" and counting, and we have a whole month left. We could lose some plants due to excess water in the clay soil. We have had some drought years in the past, but nothing like what Texas is seeing.

Karen
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Dec 1, 2011 12:35 PM CST
That's been the trouble with 2011 weather...wild swings toward the extremes of weather. I felt bad for all the people that were getting too many storms, flooding, hurricanes, tornados and such during the year...and drought, of course. I hope 2012 will be better. What rain we HAVE gotten lately has taken our county out of Exceptional and down to Extreme drought...thank God for that! And we have a good chance for rain this weekend. Some of the wildflower species are up that should be up in fall...but also I've seen little plants that shouldn't be up until spring...poor confused things, they'll die this winter. And then there's a few hummingbirds around here...go figure! I'm wondering if those will stay all winter...never seen any in November/December before.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
Image
SongofJoy
Dec 1, 2011 12:54 PM CST
I wonder about that too, Linda. Perhaps they have lost a lot of their body weight and are trying to restore that by staying there longer before they migrate, or are otherwise too debilitated to make the migration.

Glad to hear you are getting enough rain to make some difference. Yes, everything is thoroughly confused by now. Sad
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 1, 2011 1:11 PM CST
I read a whole article on a study where they are proving that a lot more hummers overwinter even in cold places than we previously thought. But somewhere along the line I have lost the link to that article & I can't find it now. When I do --- & I'll keep looking for it --- I will post it.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
Image
SongofJoy
Dec 1, 2011 1:17 PM CST
Thumbs up
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 1, 2011 6:25 PM CST
I'm still looking for that study I read. BUT ---- ran across this --- it makes for some interesting reading. Read all the posts. If I understand correctly they have even been documented overwintering in Pennsylvania.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/439743/thread/1266496159/Over...
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Southwest Gardening Keeps Horses Dog Lover Cat Lover Permaculture
Butterflies Birds Cottage Gardener Herbs I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises
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sheryl
Dec 1, 2011 6:35 PM CST
Very interesting.... I guess that they are adapting/ evolving?
In the end, only kindness matters.

Science is not the answer, it is the question.


Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 1, 2011 6:41 PM CST
Since this is the Monarch Watch Thread & I didn't want to hijack it I started a new thread here:

The thread "Overwintering Hummingbirds" in Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum

I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
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LindaTX8
Dec 1, 2011 6:50 PM CST
Cool. Well, I DID hear about some Rufous overwintering in Boerne.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad

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