If you had never heard that the state butterfly of Vermont was the Monarch, you probably never would have guessed it from this summer so far. It has been a very bad year for Monarchs in the Northeast, the long pattern of constant rain storms that we experienced throughout the spring and early summer essentially created a wall of weather that prevented Monarchs from coming into our area during their normal migration period. Only a few Monarchs had been sighted in the state and no signs of eggs or larva had been reported anywhere. By comparison, at this time last year at my Monarch Larva Monitoring Project location in Weybridge I was finding larva up to 4th Instar, the second to last stage before they pupate. This year I haven’t come across a single egg.

So I was very pleased this past Monday while birding the  Little Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area in Ferrisburgh to see a couple of Monarchs flying around the fields and trails. The second one I observed was a female flying along a trail making stops on one Milkweed plant after another. A quick search of a plant she had just left revealed a newly deposited egg. Hopefully this was just one of many Monarchs taking advantage of the turn in the weather allowing them to lay eggs in this State which holds them in special regard.

-Ron Payne

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