One of our favorite study sites is the Cape May Point garden of Bill & Edie Schuhl, who are great supporters of our project in many ways. The "tagging bench" is back out for the season. In the photo below, MMP Field Coordinator Louise Zemaitis and 2012 Intern Julia Druce are tagging monarchs while chatting with Bill & Edie.
Julia comes to the MMP with lots of experience working with lepidoptera in both field and laboratory settings, plus a very strong academic background. But she has never tagged monarchs before. It didn't take her long to learn, however. Below she shows off the first monarch she tagged today; maybe this one will be found in Texas later in September, or maybe even on the wintering grounds in Mexico later on.
Autumn brings other butterflies into Cape May. We're eager to watch for southern species that disperse northward in late summer and early fall. This year we are already seeing many Cloudless Sulphurs (Phoebis sennae) and Little Yellows (Pyrisitia lisa -- older books called it Eurema lisa). And today, in the Schuhl's garden, I saw my first Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus) of the fall; its photo is below.
And for those of you who like to enjoys butterflies AND birds, I'll mention that the annual hawk count also began today. This Peregrine Falcon spent much of the morning on the water tower at the old Magnesite Plant near Sunset Beach.
Keep watching the blog for more updates!
Mark S. Garland
MMP Communications Director