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.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monarch Season Winding Down

The sun is setting on another monarch migration season
at Cape May Point.

2013 Intern Samm Wehman
at one of our tagging demos.
 Field Coordinator Louise Zemaitis
tags a monarch.

We are down to the last few days of the 2013 field season of the Monarch Monitoring Project, feeling a bit disappointed that we never experienced a huge influx of monarchs.  There was never an absolute gap in the migration, however, and since the beginning of the field season (Sept. 1) there have been some monarchs around to observe and enjoy every single day.  We still have two more days to census, but it looks like this will be the third lowest year since our studies began in 1991.

Project Director Dick Walton teaches about monarchs.

We will reflect on the numbers in a later post, but today I just want to think back on some of the season's highlights.  Again this year we met with hundreds of people who were eager to learn about monarch biology, watch the tagging, and get an up-close experience with these charismatic insects.

Mid-season tagging demo.  Lynn Lee shows
a tagged monarch to an excited family.

Almost every day of the fall brought at least a few monarchs to enjoy, and several times we saw groups of monarchs gathering in sheltered forest patches or among the seaside goldenrods on the dunes of Cape May Point.  Plenty of other butterflies also visited the Point this fall, entertaining our team and visiting butterfly aficionados.  We all love the peak years, when clouds of monarchs appear in the Cape May skies, but even the lower years are rather spectacular.

Monarchs at Cape May Point.
Question Mark.
Cloudless Sulphur.
Fiery Skipper.

Eastern Tailed Blue.

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