I haven’t been seeing that many butterflies lately, but Monarchs have been a constant. I’ve been seeing Monarchs steadily since June in small numbers in lots of Massachusetts locations, more than the usual number. Since Monarch numbers here peak around fall migration, this may be a good year for Monarchs and for observing Monarch migration.
Most often I’ve see single female Monarchs hovering looking for good places to lay eggs in milkweed patches. Sometimes I see a female perch and arch its abdomen to the underside of a leaf to lay an egg. At one spot I visit frequently I looked for caterpillars and found several – at a spot where I’d seen hovering females in previous weeks. Here’s one. It looks big in the image, but it was actually just a half inch or so:
This was taken a week or so ago. I checked the same place this week, and there were no caterpillars left – they became bird food or were taken by another predator I suppose. Proportionally few Monarchs make the full journey from egg to flying adult.