The Monarch Monitoring Project is a long-term study on monarch migration through Cape May, NJ. It is a part of the New Jersey Audubon Research Department, and closely affiliated with the Cape May Bird Observatory.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The 2011 Monarch Season has Begun!

Hello! and Welcome to the Monarch Monitoring Project's new blog site! We are all excited for the upcoming monarch migration, and looking forward to keeping you updated on current happenings with monarchs!

First off, I'd like to introduce myself and Tori; We are the newest additions to the Monarch Team. Tori is the new MMP Intern and I am the MMP Technician, and yes! There are TWO of us this year! So THANK YOU to all who have contributed to the Monarch Project, so that both Tori and I can be here in beautiful Cape May!

Tori releasing a monarch

Tori and I arrived last Tuesday, August 30. We wasted no time and started tagging Monarchs on Wednesday!  We tagged a total of 9 and now we are pros! (well, we are getting there).  Having never tagged a Monarch before, I was super curious about the process.  I learned how to catch,  measure the forewing and hindwing, and apply the pencil eraser-sized sticker-tag on the underside of the forewing!  Fortunately for me, the monarch plays "don't eat me!" and  sits there calmly so that I can tag this precious insect with ease!

First Tagged Monarch of the 2011 Season!

Other adventures of the week have included dead-heading the town's Buddleia butterfly bushes, practicing monarch catching with the butterfly net, learning the route for monarch counting, and meeting all of YOU who live and vacation in Cape May!

One thing that you may experience Tori and I doing, is driving really slow to conduct Monarch counts. We drive a five mile stretch of road that starts at the Higbee's Beach parking lot, heads south, and follows the route past the lighthouse and around the coast. So if you see a car driving really slow with its flashers on, it could be Tori or I; or it could be a car breaking down, or it could be BOTH! With that, please allow me to introduce you to my car: Jewel.  Jewel is my emerald-colored 1993 Honda Civic EX.  She just loves to travel and we have driven from the the East Coast to the West Coast and back! At 216,000 miles she has seen better days, but she's an amazing little car, and you'll see her around town- so wave!
Jewel in Cape May!
Jewel in Montreal

You'll see Jewel and I doing most of the monarch counts, but also keep your eyes out for Tori's 1998 Dark Green Lexus roaming the monarch roosts, and for many others who volunteer their time when neither Tori nor I are available.

And finally, after a fun-filled week of living the monarch migration life, I present to you our summary for the week of the monarch census!  We started off strong early in the week, but the winds and weather have changed much, which fared bad for monarchs! (And birds.)

  •   Week 1 total for monarchs is 8.63 Danaus plexippus per hour (dpph)

Second instar monarch caterpillar
Also, feel free to drop by the Cape May Bird Observatory's Northwood Center to take a look at our Monarch tank! We've got milkweed in a vivarium littered with monarch caterpillars munching away! Check out CMBOs Facebook page to see a video of the hungry little caterpillars!

Please let us know what you would like to read about on our blog! We'll be updating this blog weekly  now through October. We welcome and look forward to your suggestions, comments, and Monarch sightings!  Tori and I will be blogging about other things too, like the Milkweed community and other insects around Cape May.

For now, this is Rebecca Allmond of Team Monarch, signing off!  
Have a great day and let's have a great Monarch season!

MMP Field Technician 2011

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the start of the season! I am so excited for you all and look forward to meeting you when I finally get to escape to Cape May in October. C'mon monarchs!!