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, October 26, 2011

The End is Near...Census Week 8

Today completes the last FULL week of monarch censuses for the Monarch Monitoring Project.  We reduced our census frequency from 3 times per day to 2 times per day on October 17.  And in 5 short days, censusing for monarch will cease altogether.  BUT, I feel we are going out with a BANG, er BOOM? er, POP? Um, what I mean is we are experiencing our third wave of monarchs!! Tori and I have been tagging like crazy the past few days, trying to catch our latest arrival of monarch migrants! Remember that the season started late, and so we are still experiencing some of the migration that has been bottled up north of here.  It has been a great couple of days for monarchs, but I'm still not finding any roosts even though the monarchs are swirling and clustering around any available butterfly bush or nectar source.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more monarchs, especially with our last three DEMOS this weekend: Friday, Saturday, Sunday 1pm at the State Park!  Here are the current figures:

As you can see we are still declining from the peak of week 6.  

Ok, so, I HAVE to share with you my photo pics for the week... there are TWO.  First I'll share my runner up:
Female Cabbage White on Yellow Iris

I really liked this photo for it's color qualities, and so I wanted to share it with you.

Monarchs Mating
We like to say that monarchs don't mate during fall migration, but the truth is I SEE it happening, and today it was VERY frequent. Now, I don't know if these mated males and females make it to Mexico, or if it is one last ditch effort to breed and take their chances.  BUT I have seen some very battered males mating and attempting to mate today. In fact one male was EXCEPTIONALLY aggressive and I snagged and tagged two females from his grasp today. But when I came back to check the bush again I found my GRAND PRIZE WINNINNG Photo of the Week!!!!

This is a very frisky male monarch (bottom) trying to mate with a RED ADMIRAL. YES! It's TRUE! The male had this admiral in its grasp and the admiral was trying desperately to get away!  Of course I did not have my real camera with me, and this photo is taken with my cell phone :/ so it is not good. But you can clearly see the admiral on top, and the monarch underneath. The admiral did get away by the time I came back with my other camera.  But GEEZ monarch male: EPIC FAIL for your species I.D.!

male Monarch attempting to mate with a Red Admiral
...and that's my photo of the week!

Keep your fingers crossed and your eyes on the skies!!

2011 MMP Technician

1 comment:

  1. I tagged about 20 monarchs today, and 2 of the females had mated. Maybe these late season critters sense that the situation is desperate.