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Margarete Johnson spotted a monarch butterfly yesterday (8 April) while gardening in Monarch Waystation #1 here at Monarch Watch (Lawrence, KS).
Margarete beat me by a day.
This morning I spotted a faded female monarch while walking the dog in western Douglas County, KS (6 miles east of Berryton, KS).
My earliest sighting over the years occurred on the 7th of April – an event that was followed by an April storm that took out the roof of our greenhouse and froze all manner of early bloom or leafyness and no doubt that early monarch.
The extended forecast through the 3rd of May indicates that overnight temperatures will be above normal for 23/24 days. There is no frost in sight and our last frost was on the 9th of March (the mean day of last frost for this area is 15 April). The season is off to an unusual start, one that should benefit monarchs and butterflies in general – at least in eastern KS. We are already seeing numerous butterfly species that originate from TX. Yesterday, the flow of red admirals through this area was quite exceptional. I have already seen more swallowtails than I saw all of last year. We just need about an inch of rain a week to keep things on track…