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 22, 2014

Monarch Evacuation

On Tuesday morning Cape May Point was loaded with monarchs.  Numbers had been building for several days, and by Monday evening we were seeing the biggest overnight roosts that we'd found all year, such as the one shown below.

By midday Tuesday, however, the numbers had begun to drop.  We stood on the dunes and watched as monarchs flew out over Delaware Bay.  A few came back, perhaps intimidated by all the water, but most departed that day.  By late afternoon the scene was dramatically different, with only a few monarchs found in the gardens and on the goldenrods.  Most of the monarchs were gone.

Our feelings are mixed by the big departures.  We're thrilled when the monarchs are here, yet we know they have to go, there's a long journey awaiting.  And it seems the monarchs got away just in time, for on Wednesday afternoon rain and heavy wind came to Cape May, and high winds are expected to continue for several days.  Terrible weather for monarch migration.  We miss you monarchs, but we're glad you got away when you did, and we wish you good luck for the journey that awaits.

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