Monarch watching has been downright abysmal around my home. As of October 15, only one monarch had made an appearance at the Johnson Homestead. However, the next day monarchs were seen twice in my yard. The first sighting took place in early afternoon. Then just before dark, I spotted a monarch drifting across the bird feeding area located in front of my office. While I will never know for sure, it seemed it was looking for a place to roost for the night.
I suspect the monarchs had been riding the wind. Yesterday a cold front swept through Middle Georgia. This leads me to believe this was the case because it is a fact that during their fall migration monarchs often catch rides on northerly winds found along the leading edges of approaching cold fronts. If these winds are blowing in the direction the butterflies want to go, the butterflies can fly long distance without having to expend a lot of stored fuel. When this occurs monarchs are often seen making their way southward for several days after the leading edge of the cold front has left your us far behind.
On the other side of the coin, if the north winds are too strong, monarchs are known to fly so high in sky it is impossible for us to see them as they wing their way over our yards.
Conversely, when the prevailing winds are blowing from the south, they tend to hang around and forage for nectar before resuming their migration. This situation often provides us with some of our best monarch watching opportunities.
For about the last two weeks we have had two to 20 monarchs per day here in extreme northwest Forsyth County; they seem to prefer our common bushy or smooth white old field aster, even with a couple of butterfly bushes available. I could be mistaken about the ID of the Aster but ours seem closest to these two.
Thank you ever so much for the response. Today (Oct. 20) we had 4 monarchs in the yard. This is the most I have seen this year. You are spot on concerning the asters and butterfly bushes. I think most folks don’t realize how important the asters are to last season pollinators.
We have never had 20 monarchs in a day — you are so lucky!
I have not seen any in my yard here in Central GA.
I am sorry to hear you are not seeing any monarchs. Another blogger wrote to say he has been seeing 20 per day for the past couple of weeks. His monarchs are going to wild white asters and butterfly bushes. We saw 4 today and they are going almost exclusively to butterfly bushes.