Spent a week at my place in Erie, still working on clearing out my garden and moving what I can to NY. Number of adult butterflies working my flower beds and butterfly bush is steady and heavier than normal on all types of butterflies and the varieties that I am seeing feeding together is a great photo opportunity. It appears to me that all types of butterflies are doing quite well this season.
As far as the number of eggs layed on leaves, I remember when it was true that you would only find one or two eggs on a whole plant. But over the last few years my observation has been that more and more often you can find several eggs on a plant now and often two to five per leaf. I would attribute this to the fact that this year the numbers of adults for this time of year is higher than normal, and the fact that other available milkweed dwindles more and more each year as more clearing and building taking place, and also the cutting and spraying along roads and fields. Luckily monarchs are adaptable it seems and just make up for it by utilizing each plant they find to the full.
In trimming back my plants to get them ready to move I noticed many "monach circles" where the eggs have hatched, often three to four a leaf, and see the little guys for a day or so, but there seems to be a high mortality rate this year as I am only finding a few larvae that have gotten past the first instar phase, and have not found any larger larvae. I did notice that the number of tachnid flies around my milkweed seems higher that normal, and I have a lot of bird activity in my yard, so perhaps that is why I am not seeing signs of larger larvae at this point.
At least 95 percent of the adult monarchs I am seeing are new, good sized and plump, and are busy feeding mating and laying eggs.
It is a wonderful year to be watching monarchs!