Mid-Season Western Monarch Update: November 2022

The Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Count: Mid-Season Update, November 2022
Date: 11/22/22

More than 105,000* monarch butterflies have been reported to The Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Count project as of 11/22/22. This year seems to be another good year for migratory western monarchs, and survey reports continue to roll in on a daily basis!

  • Natural Bridges: monitors report 7,500 as of 11/15/22
  • Lighthouse Field: monitors report 2,000 as of 11/15/22
  • Pacific Grove: monitors report 12,328 as of 11/18/22
  • Pismo Beach: monitors report 24,058 as of 11/15/22

The Western Monarch Count (WMC) is an annual, volunteer-powered community science effort that tracks the status of overwintering western monarchs & their habitat. There are two official monitoring periods that comprise the WMC: the Thanksgiving Count and the New Year’s Count. We are approximately half-way through the 2022 Thanksgiving Count monitoring period, and volunteers and partners have surveyed over 70 monarch butterfly overwintering sites in California so far. We expect that volunteers, partners and other participants will survey more than 200 overwintering sites for the Thanksgiving Count this year (11/12/22 – 12/4/22), so data included in this mid-season update represent only a fraction of the total number of sites that will be monitored.

Other mid-season highlights include the confirmation of four additional overwintering sites (two in San Luis Obispo County and two in Alameda County) and greater monarch presence in and around Sonoma, Marin, and Bay Area counties. Both Marin County, CA, and Alameda County, CA, are reported to have over 2,000 butterflies each – the most overwintering monarchs recorded in these regions since the 2017-2018 season.

Stay tuned! The Xerces Society will release another unofficial count update in early December. You can also follow the Western Monarch Count project on Facebook.

*Reminder: The Xerces Society will announce the official Thanksgiving Count and New Year’s Count results in early 2023 once all data have been submitted and vetted. Count updates shared prior to the official announcements are not the final tally.