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.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Busy Day for MMP Team

It was a gorgeous day in Cape May, mostly sunny with gentle breezes from the north.  Our census total jumped up to 61/hour, but that just begins to tell the story.  Monarchs seemed to be arriving into Cape May all day, and during the afternoon we watched as monarchs dropped from the sky into the gardens all around Cape May Point.  Our team mobilized and by late afternoon four of us were tagging.  As we tagged we all found ourselves giving impromptu monarch biology lessons to the many visitors who stopped to ask questions.

We also had a lively tagging demo this afternoon, with a good number of attentive children in the audience.  The lively conversations and questions generated by the demo kept me there for two full hours.  We'll be talking about monarchs and showing how they are tagged again this Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm.

Our project made the television news again, this time on Philadelphia's CBS station, channel 3.  You can view the piece here:

Tomorrow's weather forecast is for another beautiful day, with lots of sun and gentle breezes from the northeast.  Monarchs will be on the move.  Some will surely leave Cape May Point and head to Delaware, and some may pass right over our little seaside town, riding those ideal winds of migration, but there's a good chance we'll see many more monarchs arriving into the gardens and natural habitats of Cape May.  Soon the seaside goldenrod will begin to bloom on the dunes, offering another great nectar plant to the migrating monarchs.  It will be a good weekend to visit Cape May, with the possibility of a great monarch show.  Birding should very good, and a big influx of dragonflies is also possible.  The critters fool us sometimes, so we don't promise anything, but we all have high hopes.  We'll let you know if reality matches our lofty expectations.  And if you find any spectacular monarch concentrations at a spot in Cape May Point that we might not have found, please track us down and let us know!  We'll be the ones with the butterfly nets.

Dick Walton explains monarch biology to eager listeners
at today's tagging demo.
Lindsey Brendel tagged monarchs for more than half an hour at today's demo,
as fascinated visitors wanted to watch the process over and over.

Here Lindsey releases a monarch that she has just tagged; can you see it flying away
up near the top of the frame?

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