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.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cold Front Makes Cold Monarchs

Not much to report here. The cold front that has swept through Cape May has dropped the temperature by 15ish degrees, getting people here to swap their bathing suits for sweatshirts.  The Front brought in some cool warblers, and other small birds, and even created a phenomenon which I have coined lovingly as "birder paparazzi".  But amongst this cold flight, very little monarchs have migrated here in the last two days. Combined with today's cold morning and steady afternoon rain, the monarchs decided to hit the snooze button--the whole day. Yes, there are monarchs here, and yes, there will be more coming, whether they are emerging from their cozy pupa or riding the winds of change.  But for now, all remains quiet on the Eastern front, and I remain steadfast in my monitoring for the massive amounts of monarchs to arrive.  Maybe if I climb the lighthouse tower with one of those high-powered Swarovski scopes, maybe then I could see where the monarchs have gone....

On a different note, DEMOS have started!!!!!! There has been some good turnout for the first two demos.   Despite the rainy day and cold weather, people came today, though yesterday was nicer.

 I did have a hard time today finding some monarchs for the demo, but Luann came to my rescue at the "triangle garden."  It was a meeting of fate as our two cars approached the garden from opposite directions. The clouds steadily sighed heavy drops of rain on my car, me, and all life-forms in its reach.   Monarchs + Rain = "magic disappearing act". I was desperate to find one more monarch, having only one in my possession.  I had just canvassed two of the usual monarch hang outs, but these spots were a bust, and here I was, facing an unknown vehicle at my last place to look just minutes before the demo. Out of the car came a woman donned in a soggy rain jacket. She approached me and cheerfully told me she had a monarch in her car.  I tried to mask my confusion as I racked my brain for her identity, but she must have read it on my face because she introduced herself as Luann, my monarch assistant for the day. Ah! What a RELIEF to have some help! We were two crazy monarch huntresses  and we went to work hunting monarchs in the rain!  Luann, THANK YOU, and I will forever remember our meeting by the garden in the rain, ready to stalk and capture just one-more-monarch!

Birder Paparazzi in the CMBO parking lot

Thank you to Chris and Luann and Mike today for helping me with the Monarch Demo! And thank you to all who came.  And thank you for those reading this blog!!!

I'm off to pupate for the night!

MMP Field Technician

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