This morning, here in Ft Lauderdale, while filling up the birdbath in my butterfly garden, I noticed a big Monarch climbing up from the bottom of my Lantana. She stayed there for quite a while with both wings pressed together. Then she started opening her wings back and forth. I ran upstairs to get my camera, but, when I returned, she was gone. As I searched around my garden for her, I spotted another one, smaller, doing the same thing. About that time I noticed one in the air and another drying out on a rock. I photographed each of these. In all I saw only five, two in flight and three "coming out". They all headed north from my garden crossing over a canal in a heavy wind of 20 to 30 miles an hour!
About two weeks ago I had moved about 12 caterpillars to five different milkweed plants with blossoms and leaves. (The cluster of milkweed where I found them was completely eaten down to the stem and some of the caterpillars were still quite small.) The next day ALL the milkweed was down to the stem and the caterpillars were gone. I searched everyday for a chrysalis but never found one. Now I know THEY WERE THERE! They picked a bad day to hit the road. I wish them the best.