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.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wonderful Monarch Show

Today was one of the better monarch days we have had all season.  Monarchs were seen all over Cape May Point.  Our census numbers were high, the tagging was constant, and we even had a group of school children come and spend the day with the Monarch Monitoring Project.  It was a busy day that did not slow down until sunset.

Monarchs didn't even mind sharing nectar sources! 
The west winds, warm temperatures, and sunny conditions made this the perfect autumn day and brought many new winged travelers to Cape May.  The morning census had 65 total monarchs, and the afternoon had 81.  For an individual census run, both of these figures are much higher than we typically count.

It will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings.  The wind conditions are predicted to be west/ northwest, which is always what we look for in a good flight.  It is going to be cooler tomorrow, and breezier as well.  Some weather forecasts are calling for gusts up to 26 miles per hour.  We will have to see how these conditions work together, and influence the monarch flight.

Clear skies, warm air, and lots of butterflies.

We were happy to spend the afternoon with a school group from Parkesburg, Pennsylvania.  Some of the kids who visited came with their own experience raising monarchs, and others were learning about monarch ecology for the first time.  They were certainly a lively bunch, and were counting monarchs, learning about the tagging process, and asking questions all afternoon.  

As the sun was going down, monarchs were settling in to small roost sites along the dunes.  There were many small groups anywhere from 10 to 30 monarchs, in the pines, as well as on the goldenrod.  We hope tomorrow continues the great monarch show.  

In the pines across from St. Peters

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