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 21, 2011

Week 3 Update!

Can you BELIEVE it! It is already the end of Week 3 for the Monarch Monitoring Project! Numbers are up this week, and are the highest for the season with a whopping 9.76 dpph! Maybe it's because Louise and Mark are back in town, or maybe it's because Dick Walton (MMP founder) has arrived, and the monarchs are mustering their numbers! Whatever it is, I hope the upward trend continues into next week! Here's the latest graph for this season.

Monarch fingernails courtesy of MMP Volunteer Tori

Today also brought with it many FIRSTS! First of all our MMP volunteer is BACK in town, and ready to get her monarch madness in high gear. To celebrate, she donned a great monarch head band, and cleverly painted her nails!  This was also the first time all of team monarch conducted our first wednesday demo!  Dick Walton began by captivating the audience with a short overview of the project, and introduced all of the key players on team Monarch.  He then kicked the ball to me for a summary of what I do as MMP field technician. Louise followed up with a tale about the stunning life history of the monarch, referring to our expert, Tori, to talk about monarch diseasing and pointing to Mark to chime in with fun anecdotes about caterpillar growth and monarch diapause!  

 We oohed and ahhed about 50 eager monarch fans and showed them how we tag monarchs on Cape May.  It is just so great to show visitors a live monarch! The best part is when they realize they can hold one!  There is nothing like getting to hold your first butterfly! Monarchs are so very soft and velvety and fiesty as well!  I can't say enough how much fun it is to do monarch demos for all of you!

Rebecca had two helpers tagging this monarch at last week's demo

In other news it was the first time this week that I've seen these odd looking guys!  Have you seen these strange creatures chomping on the bayberry bushes at Cape May State Park? These are stinging rose caterpillars! They look like alien slugs but really they are the larva of a moth! Check out more information on these guys here, or take a walk at the state park and find them hiding on the underside of a leaf on the bayberry bush!
Stinging Rose Catepillar

This guy decimated it's bayberry stem

Keep your eyes on the skies

fellow monarch enthusiasts!

MMP Field Technician

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