An unusually long winter has hindered the Monarch Population. This year I only just found my first butterfly, when at the same time last year I was already releasing the first generation. Researching, I've found two particularly helpful/interesting websites, Monarch Watch and Journey North. Monarch Watch is a blog devoted to education, conservation and research, while Journey North tracks the butterfly migration via volunteers whom upload first sightings of milkweed, butterflies and eggs each season on a map that tracks their progression. I checked these maps daily in the late Spring in anticipation of our first Minnesota sighting. And even though the butterflies have officially arrived and been here for weeks, the season is still a disappointment. Eggs are few and far between and thus far, even with daily and diligent searching, I have only found 30 eggs. Which seems like a lot until you look back at last year's haul. This year, the milkweed plants are remarkably more pest infested than usual. When I have happened to find an egg, it has usually been either on the front of the leaf or along the very top inner leaves. I remain hopeful that things will pick up, despite Monarch Watch's bleak prediction for for another record breaking low Monarch overwintering population come 2014. Each butterfly I release feels like a step in the right direction.
And of course Butterfly Season wouldn't be the same without a fresh new butterfly journal. This year, my friend and butterfly enthusiast designed the cover.