Monarchs have been a common sight this summer in the Adirondacks as their numbers are apparently up this year compared to recent years. At least that’s what I’ve heard anecdotally.
But overall their numbers are still down dramatically from an historical standpoint. Eastern monarch populations have decreased by at least 80 percent in the past two decades, according to Xerces Society.
One of the people who keeps tabs on monarchs locally is Dan Jenkins, who lives on Upper Saranac Lake. Monarchs visit Jenkins’ garden regularly in the summer months and fly through his property during the late-August/early-September migration every year. In the fall, he tags them for the Monarch Watch program, which keeps tabs on the migration that spans from the Adirondacks to Mexico. Look for a September/October magazine story by Sara Ruberg about local butterfly conservation efforts.
Above are some photos of Jenkins taken in July as he nets monarchs in his yard. There are also some photos of swallowtails that frequently visit his flowers. Below, you’ll find a video of a monarch caterpillar that Jenkins and I noticed feeding on a milkweed plant.