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, September 29, 2015

Tuesday update

Monarch numbers around Cape May Point have remained fairly steady, as expected with the continuing east and northeasterly winds.  The forecast is now calling for several rainy days later this week, some mixed with strong winds, and the possibility of very heavy winds if tropical storm Joaquin decides to visit.  The long-range forecast looks good for an influx of monarchs next week; we'll cross our fingers and keep watching the forecasts.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Can someone change the wind, please?

We've been stuck in an unusual wind pattern for almost a week now, with winds blowing from the northeast or the east.  Not the wind direction that brings migrants into Cape May, so it's been slow for monarchs, slow for dragonflies, slow for songbirds, slow for raptors.  Typically in the autumn we see frequent cold fronts, with winds blowing from the north or from the northwest, and those winds generally deliver lots of migrants into Cape May.

Two days ago we reported that a change of wind direction was forecast for next Tuesday and Wednesday.  They've changed the forecast now, and here are the predicted wind directions for the next TEN days:

Today: ENE
Tomorrow: ENE
Monday: E
Tuesday: NNE
Wednesday: NNE
Thursday: NE
Friday: NE
Saturday: NE
Sunday: NE
Monday: NE

More than a little discouraging for those of us hoping to see big numbers of migrants.  The good news is that the long range forecast often changes.  We'll hope that the weather pattern changes sooner than is currently predicted.

In the meantime, we'll still be out there counting monarchs, tagging monarchs, and presenting educational talks.  There should still be some monarchs around every day, we're at the very peak of the migratory season.  These tenacious little butterflies fool us sometimes, too, and perhaps we'll see a significant influx on the northeast winds.  But more likely it will be a slow stretch of the migration until the wind direction changes.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday update

Moderately strong northeast winds blew into Cape May on Tuesday and Wednesday, strong enough to keep most monarchs from crossing Delaware Bay.  Numbers remained steady, with most butterflies staying low and in sheltered areas, out of the wind.  These were good days to visit the gardens around Cape May Point.

Female monarch gathers nectar from a tiny English ivy
flower. This ivy vine grows amidst a sheltered grove
of trees at Cape May Point.
By Thursday morning the winds had diminished, though they still blew gently from the northeast.  Monarchs don't like to cross the Bay in strong winds, but it seems that many departed for Delaware with the morning's gentle winds.  A few monarchs may have arrived, but the numbers of monarchs in Cape May were down considerably by day's end.

The meteorologists are predicting northeast or east winds for the next four days.  These are not winds the usually bring many monarchs into Cape May, so we're expecting a bit of a lull in the migration.  If you're coming to Cape May, don't despair, there will still be monarchs around the Point, and probably in numbers greater than you'll find in most other locales.  But we don't expect the next surge of migrating monarch to arrive until the wind switches back around to the northwest.  The current forecast calls for northwest winds next Tuesday and Wednesday.  Let's hope the forecast holds.  This is prime time for monarch migration, there are many more that we're sure to see traveling through Cape May Point during the next four weeks.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday update

Steady winds from 10 to 20 mph blew from the northeast all day today.  In these winds the monarchs didn't fly around much.  There are still good numbers of monarchs around Cape May Point, but you might not have noticed them if you didn't look carefully into the gardens around the Point, where the monarchs were busy feeding on flowers and resting in sheltered areas.  Tomorrow's forecast is for more of the same, so we expect the monarch activity to be much as it was today.

A Few FAQs

Members of our CMBO - Monarch Monitoring Project team are always eager to share information about monarch biology and answer questions that come to us in person and via e-mail.  There are a few questions that we receive frequently, so we are sharing those questions and the answers in today's blog post.  We may come back with more FAQs in a week or two.

When is the best time to see the most monarchs in Cape May Point?

Oh, how we wish we could predict this!  We'd have the biggest monarch party you can imagine if we knew when the biggest flights would happen.  But we can't know.  It's partly dependent on the weather -- autumn cold fronts that bring northwest winds typically deliver lots of monarchs and migrating birds into Cape May -- but some cold fronts bring more than others.  All we can say is that most years most monarchs come between Sept. 10 and Oct. 20.  During that period there are usually 4 to 6 distinct peaks in monarch numbers with lulls in between.  The longer you stay, the better your chances to see a major monarch movement.  But come any day during that period and there are probably going to be a lot of monarchs around.

Where are the monarchs roosting?

We usually don't know, and believe me, we want to know.  When there are a lot of monarchs around Cape May Point, especially when it's getting chilly at night, monarchs often cluster together overnight.  We spend a lot of time wandering around Cape May Point during the late afternoon, and so far this year we haven't found any big roosts.  We know a lot of places where they have roosted in previous years, and we check those spots, but the monarchs frequently fool us.  We need your help!  If you're in Cape May Point and see big roosts of monarchs, please let us know!  The simplest way is to just call the CMBO Northwood Center at (609) 884-2736, but you can also send an e-mail message to the CMBO Monarch Monitoring Project via

Can I bring monarchs to you for tagging or ship them to you from further north to help them on their migrations?

We hear this fairly often and the answer is an emphatic NO!  Monarchs have evolved to migrate from all over the eastern ⅔ of the US and from southern Canada down to the overwintering areas in Mexico.  Leave them where you find them!  They instinctively know how to migrate.  Bringing them to Cape May might not be that much of a favor, as the Delaware Bay crossing is potentially quite hazardous to monarchs.  Many migrating from areas to our north might otherwise travel west of Delaware Bay and avoid the long water crossing altogether.  Trust that monarchs know how to migrate.  And we don't need extra monarchs brought to us for tagging purposes, we have plenty that find their way to Cape May Point, thank you.

I want to tag monarchs, can you give me some tags?

No, sorry.  We don't make the tags, we buy them, and we buy only as many as we think our staff and volunteers will use (that's Julia Druce, 2012 Field Naturalist, with a tagged monarch at left).  If you want to tag monarchs, you can order tags from Monarch Watch at

Can we help you tag monarchs at Cape May Point?

We have an experienced team tagging monarchs in Cape May Point, and we don't need more help here, but we do need help tagging monarchs in other parts of Cape May County, north of the Cape May Canal, as part of our new Monarch Ambassador program.  Our trainings are finished for 2015, but we will hold more Monarch Ambassador trainings in August and September of 2016.  Come to one of the training sessions and then help expand our understanding of monarch migration through the entire Cape May peninsula by counting and tagging monarchs at locations such as Villas, Stone Harbor, Strathmere, Reeds Beach, and in southeastern Cumberland County.  And we do provide a limited number of tags to those who volunteer as Monarch Ambassadors.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Visit us at Cape May Point

We are moving into the heart of the monarch season at Cape May Point.  While monarch numbers are down a bit on Saturday, as expected with the unseasonably warm weather and southerly breezes, we expect many more monarchs to migrate through Cape May during the next month.

Our public programming is now if full swing.  Our second tagging demo of the year was held of Friday, when about 40 visitors listened as we told the story of monarch biology and migration.  Then they watched as our seasonal field naturalists Lindsey Brendel and Katie Burns tagged and released several monarchs.

MMP Director and Founder Dick Walton addresses the audience.
Tagging demos are held on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 2:00 pm at Cape May Point State Park.  Find our team at the East Shelter, the covered picnic pavilion adjacent to the hawk watch platform.  No reservations are needed and there is no charge for this program, though contributions are accepted.  Tagging demos will continue on Wednesdays through October 7, Fridays through October 9, Saturdays through October 17, and Sundays through October 11.

You can also visit with members of the Monarch Monitoring Project any day through October 18 at 11:00 am at Cape May Point's Triangle Park, located at the junction of Lighthouse and Coral Avenues.  There's no fee for this program.  We do cancel when there is heavy rain.

Field Naturalists Katie Burns (left) and Lindsey Brendel (right)
discuss the monarch life cycle.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thursday midday update

Much to our surprise the winds were blowing gently from the northwest at Cape May Point this morning, and monarch continued to move through Cape May Point in larger numbers than we expected.  We saw monarchs coming into Cape May and others heading out across Delaware Bay en route to Delaware.  There are still good numbers of monarchs at the Point, not just in the gardens but also moving along the beach and above the vegetated dunes.

Female monarch at the Coral Ave. dune crossing.

By midday the winds had shifted, blowing from the southwest, a direction that usually stops the migration temporarily.  But the winds are still very gentle.  We should know better than to predict what's going to happen next.  Last night we predicted that monarch numbers would decline over the next few days, and that's still our best guess, but we were wrong about that this morning and we could certainly be wrong tomorrow and the next day.  Whatever happens, we promise to report back regularly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Here today, gone tomorrow?

Wednesday was the third straight day with winds from the NW, the ideal wind direction for monarch migration through Cape May.  The winds did their job, bringing the first wave of southbound migrants into Cape May Point.  A few arrived on Monday, more came in yesterday, and by this morning we had monarchs all over the Point.  Not really big numbers, as we're hoping to see later this fall, but every garden seemed to have 5 or 10 monarchs at any given time.  Our team tagged more than 100 today, mostly in the morning.  The wind was gentle all day today, and it shifted to the northeast by afternoon, ideal conditions for monarch to cross Delaware Bay and continue their southbound movements.  It seemed many must have done just that; there seemed to be fewer monarch around by afternoon, and our census numbers confirmed that.

Migrating monarch are generally very bright and fresh-looking.

Winds are predicted to blow from the southwest tomorrow, then from the southeast for the next two days.  We don't expect to see many new monarch arrivals over the next three days, and more will probably be drifting away from the Point.  We will, however, add a word of caution to the prediction: the monarchs sometimes fool us, the weather sometimes fools the weather forecasters, so we really are just guessing about what's going to happen next.

While we're guessing that the next few days won't reward us with big numbers of migrating monarchs, we still encourage our readers to come visit us at Cape May Point.  The flower-filled gardens of Cape May Point are attracting many butterflies.  It's shaping up to be a good fall for southern butterflies that disperse northward at this season.  At least the Ocola Skippers were visiting one private garden in the Point today, and we're also seeing Fiery Skippers, Cloudless Sulphurs, and Long-tailed Skippers.  You'll still see some monarchs -- we'll have some around every day for at least the next five weeks -- and there are still monarch caterpillars chowing down on milkweed, both in the gardens and in the displays that our team maintains at the Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center and at the Nature Center of Cape May.

Two monarch caterpillars feeding on the same leaf - an unusual sight.

Private garden in Cape May Point.
Ocola Skipper - note the long forewings jutting well
beyond the hind wings when this skipper is at rest.
You can visit with the CMBO Monarch Monitoring Project team any day (through October 18) by visiting the Triangle Park in Cape May Point at 11:00 am.  Triangle Park is located at the junction of Lighthouse and Coral Avenues.  We also have tagging demos coming up on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays at 2 pm for the next few weeks beginning this Friday, Sept. 18.  The demos are held at the East Shelter in Cape May Point State Park, which is the covered picnic pavilion adjacent to the hawk watch platform.  Our programs are free, though we are happy to accept donations (and we have some little "thank you" gifts for those who choose to donate to our project).

Question of the Week: Why Are Monarch Caterpillars Eating my Parsley?

A few people have approached us this week with questions about the little critters that they observe in their gardens, most notably the fat, green caterpillars that can be found munching on plants in the carrot family, such as parsley. Many people have mistaken these crawlers for their cousin, the monarch, while in actuality they have been observing black swallowtail larvae.

A black swallowtail caterpillar on parsley

Some distinguishing features of monarch caterpillars are the black, yellow and white stripes, and two sets of black tentacles on the thorax and abdomen. Black swallowtail caterpillars are green and black with yellow spots. They also have an orange, forked gland called an osmeterium that will emerge when the caterpillar is feeling threatened.

A monarch caterpillar on milkweed

Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed, which is why milkweed availability is so important to monarch population health. We frequently recommend that people plant milkweed in their gardens, in addition to other nectar-rich “butterfly-friendly” flowers, which provide crucial food sources for adult butterflies. These flowers include aster, seaside goldenrod, and zinnia. 

An adult monarch (left) and black swallowtail (right)

In many pollinator-friendly gardens, gardeners will plant two sets of parsley (one for the caterpillars, and one for the cupboard), in addition to milkweed to encourage a greater diversity of winged visitors. Both of these caterpillars metamorphose into glorious butterflies who are essential pollinators which will make your flowers bloom brightly. Consider both species welcome guests in your garden!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Numbers Continue to Grow

Monarch numbers continue to increase: 32 counted on the 3 pm census today.  We're definitely seeing the greatest number of monarchs of 2015 thus far.  With luck the numbers will continue to grow tomorrow.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Noticeable Migration Today

There was a noticeable influx of monarchs into Cape May Point this afternoon. Not so many for us to urge everyone to race on down to see it, but enough to get our crew excited. Most of the monarchs we saw today were bright and fresh, the ones that are headed to Mexico. Gentle northwest winds are predicted for tomorrow, a perfect forecast for bringing more monarchs into Cape May. How many will arrive? I wish there was a way to predict. But there isn't, so we'll just have to let you know tomorrow.

Meanwhile, our program season is now underway.  Attendance was low at last Saturday's first tagging demo since a heavy rainstorm was happening, but our first two 11 am "drop-in" sessions at the Triangle Park were both well attended.  If you come visit Cape May this fall we hope you'll come visit our staff at one of our events.

Still Waiting for the First Big Arrival

When several days pass without an update, it probably means that we are not seeing much of a change in the monarch numbers at Cape May.  As with our last report, we are seeing modest numbers of monarchs in Cape May today.  It does seem like there are fewer older monarchs of the year's last non-migratory generation and more of the migrants, but not that many more.  Yet.

Winds are blowing from the northwest today, the direction that most frequently brings monarchs into Cape May.  There's a chance we could see a noticeable increase in monarchs as the day progresses.  We will report back this evening, sooner if we see a big arrival developing.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Change is Coming

We're ten days into the field season for the Cape May Bird Observatory's Monarch Monitoring Project, and you may have noticed that there has been a sameness to many of our reports.  We continue to report seeing a modest number of monarchs around Cape May Point, and we continue to report that most are still members of the year's penultimate generation, the ones whose offspring will undertake the long migration to Mexico.

How do we know this?  Monarchs of the year's final generation, the ones that will migrate to Mexico, have their mating urge suppressed until after the period of winter dormancy.  We are seeing females laying eggs, catching females whose abdomens are holding eggs, ready to lay.  We are watching males aggressively patrolling flower patches in search of females, chasing away other males that come by.  We are seeing pairs actively mating.  All of these courtship and mating behaviors tell us that these monarchs aren't Mexico-bound.

There is other evidence, too.  The monarch shown at left, bearing tag UML 000, was tagged on August 30 at the Triangle Park in Cape May Point.  This male monarch has been spotted at the same location many times; the photo at left was taken on Sept. 7th.  We would have expected a migrating monarch to depart from Cape May after just a few days.  Additionally, look at all the wear on the wings of UML 000.  A big chunk is missing from the trailing edge of the right hind wing, and the entire wing surface looks faded and scratched.  Most Mexico-bound monarchs look much fresher and brighter.

We've been reporting the same situation for days because the weather hasn't really changed. The first part of September has seen monotonous weather - hot and humid with winds from the southwest, south, or east, winds that don't motivate monarchs to migrate.  We're please to report that change is coming.  Lots of rain today heralded the arrival of a cold front, and tomorrow's forecast is for comfortable temperatures and winds out of the northwest.  We've learned that predictions are dangerous, the monarchs often fool us, but we're guessing that migrating monarchs will start to arrive in Cape May tomorrow thanks to these northwest winds.

One reason that we're hoping that more monarchs will arrive is because our educational programs for 2015 begin this weekend.  Our first tagging demo will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, Sept. 12.  Meet members of the monarch team in Cape May Point State Park at the East Shelter, the covered picnic pavilion right next to the big hawk watch platform.  The program lasts between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the number of monarchs available for tagging.  There's no cost for the program, though contributions to the Monarch Monitoring Project will be accepted.

A brand new program begins this Sunday, one that we're hoping will be popular among visiting monarch enthusiasts.  Any day from September 13 through October 18 you can drop in to visit with members of the monarch team at 11:00 am at the Triangle Park (shown in the photo at right), located at the junction of Lighthouse and Coral Avenues in Cape May Point.  Chat with our research team as they catch and tag monarchs, perform garden maintenance, or undertake other project tasks.  No reservations or cost, just stop by to visit and learn about monarch biology and migration.

The next several days all look promising for the monarch migration.  While we can't promise a lot of monarchs this weekend, we're hoping for good numbers.  We can promise to report back frequently and let our readers know what's happening with the migration.

Greetings from the Cape May Monarch Monitoring Project!

The season has officially taken flight and our technicians are hard at work counting and tagging Cape May’s beloved monarchs. We have observed several gravid (egg-carrying) females beginning to lay their eggs on milkweed plants, and several small caterpillars have already started to emerge. It’s hard to believe that these tiny creatures, which are now still smaller than a matchstick, will grow 3,000% bigger in the next few weeks and eventually metamorphose into the “super generation” that will fly all the way to Mexico in October.

Tagged monarch
            If you are interested in learning more about these intrepid insects, please stop by the Cape May Observatory, Northwood Center where several of our little friends are busy munching and growing fat surrounded by a beautiful, educational display. Also, look for our research technicians, Katie and Lindsey, as they flit around the point (the butterfly nets make them easy to spot). They would be thrilled to speak with you! You may even get to see them tag a monarch or two.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Two Monarch Ambassador Trainings Coming Up

Back in late July we wrote about the new Monarch Ambassador program we were starting this fall.  "Monarch Ambassadors" will be volunteers who receive a training session about monarch biology and about the work of the CMBO Monarch Monitoring Project.  We also teach the Ambassadors-in-training how to conduct point counts of migrating monarchs and how to tag monarchs.  We have two training sessions coming up in the next week, both to be held at New Jersey Audubon's Nature Center of Cape May.  Both are free and open to anyone who'd like to consider becoming a volunteer Monarch Ambassador, but we do require RSVP via e-mail to  The first will be Tuesday, Sept. 8, from 1 to 3 pm, and the second is on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 10 am to noon.

We have three tasks for our Monarch Ambassadors, and each Ambassador can choose to help with 1, 2, or all three tasks.  The first is quite simple: be extra eyes for us and help explore areas along the Cape May peninsula to see if we can discover other areas where concentrations of migrating monarchs might occur.

Meadows with lots of fall flowers are places where monarchs
might be found in good numbers.
The second task is to conduct point counts of migrating monarchs at either Stone Harbor Point or East Point Light.  These are two areas where we know monarchs are sometimes quite abundant.  Doing a point count is quite simple -- you go to the designated site at a specified time and count all the monarchs flying by over a specific time period.  We're asking volunteers to spend at least 20 minutes on each point count, and we're hoping to find enough volunteers so that each site can be visited 3 times per week.

The third task is monarch tagging.  Our Monarch Ambassadors will be asked to tag monarchs in parts of the Cape May peninsula north of Cape May and Cape May Point.  We are issuing color-marked tags to the Ambassadors, and all of us working in Cape May Point will be watching for the color-marked tags.  We're trying to learn more about the way monarchs move down the Cape May peninsula before they reach Cape May Point, where the bulk of our studies are conducted.

Tagged monarch.

If you might have time to help us out, please come to one of the training sessions.  There's no obligation -- if you come to the presentation and then don't feel comfortable with the Monarch Ambassador tasks, it's not a problem.  But please, if you decide to come to either the Tuesday or the Saturday training session, be sure to let us know you're coming with an e-mail message to

We look forward to reporting back on the discoveries made by our Monarch Ambassadors this fall!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Watch for Tagged Monarchs

Day 3 of the 2015 CMBO Monarch Monitoring Project is complete, and the status of monarchs in Cape May is unchanged.  We're still seeing fair numbers of monarchs, but most are clearly the end of the last pre-migratory generation.  Two females were laying eggs in one Cape May Point garden, males were patrolling flower patches in search of females, and the monarchs we caught for tagging we mostly worn and without significant fat reserves.  Only those monarchs about to undertake long migratory flights typically build up big fat reserves.  We've also had several female monarchs in hand that were obviously "gravid," with clusters of eggs obvious to the touch near the end of their abdomens.  The weather has been hot with winds out of the south and southwest, weather that isn't conducive to migration.  The heat is supposed to break over the next few days, and while the northeast wind that are forecast aren't the best for migration in to Cape May, they're surely better than the hot southerly winds we have been experiencing.  Perhaps the coming weekend will see the first significant influx of migrating monarchs into Cape May.

Even though we suppose most of the monarchs around right now aren't migrating, we're still catching and tagging some of them.  We take several measurements when we tag monarchs, which provides good data, but the really exciting data is gained when a tagged monarch is found someplace else.  For this we need the help of as many observers as possible.  Help us out by watching for tagged monarchs.

If you do see a monarch with a tag, try to read the last line on the tag.  This will be a 6-character code, three letters followed by three numbers.  If you're tagging monarchs or have a net for another reason, you can net the butterfly to get a close look at the tag.  But often you can read the tag code by observing with binoculars.  An increasing number of tag recoveries now come when an observer takes a digital photo of the tagged monarch.  If you're controlling the exposure manually, photograph darker than normal to get the best resolution of the light-colored tag.  By cropping and enlarging on the computer, and possibly tweaking the exposure, contrast, and sharpness of the image, you'll often be able to read the code.

A tagged monarch is photographed from afar with a darkened exposure.
When the image is cropped and blown up, even though the image
isn't super clear, the code of UMG 003 can be read.

Once you've been able to read the tag code, note also the date, time, and location.  Report to Monarch Watch (per instructions on the tag) with either an e-mail message to, or by leaving a message on the toll-free phone number of 1-800-TAGGING.  Please also send this data to us, just in case it's a monarch from Cape May.  E-mail us at, comment on this blog, or post notice on our FaceBook page, Cape May Monarchs.  If it's not one of ours, we'll post the information on our blog and on our FaceBook page and we might locate the tagger more quickly than when the data is processed through the main Monarch Watch office.  It's always thrilling to learn how far a monarch may have traveled, and how quickly.  We'll probably tag a few thousand monarchs around Cape May this fall, and with luck, and with the help of observers out there, we'll learn about the travels of several of them.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Day 1

The first day of field season 2015 is in the books.  In confirmation of our recent subjective reports of decent numbers of monarchs being seen around Cape May, today's censuses tallied, 5 monarchs at 9 am, 5 and noon, and 7 on the 3 pm census.  It was the first day of field work for our two seasonal workers, and it's time to introduce them to you.  Lindsey Brendel returns for a second season of work with the Monarch Monitoring Project.  In addition to the usual duties, Lindsey will help coordinate the work of volunteers performing pilot studies of monarchs at Stone Harbor Point and at East Point Light.  Although her family home is far inland, on a small farm in Michigan, Cape May has clearly worked its way into Lindsey's heart.  She came back in the spring to work with the state of New Jersey's Beach Nesting Bird program.  She recently wrote about her work with the birds and with the monarchs on the blog of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, a post you can read here:  She's even picked out her "dream house" here on the Cape, though it isn't for sale and, if it was, it might be out of her price range.  We're delighted to be working with Lindsey again this year.

Here's Lindsey Brendel in early September, 2014, with one of the first monarchs she tagged.
We happy to welcome Katie Burns to the Monarch Monitoring Project.  Katie arrived in Cape May yesterday and we put her to work today, observing each of the day's three censuses, getting oriented to the key study sites in Cape May Point, meeting many of the local naturalists, and helping Lindsey and the Cape May Bird Observatory (CMBO) staff set up the monarch terrarium and display at the CMBO Northwood Center, located on East Lake Drove in Cape May Point.  Katie is a recent Environmental Science graduate of Wheaton College who has done a lot of field work studying native bees.  She has a strong interest in the educational outreach portion of the MMP.  When asked why she wanted to work with monarch butterflies, this was part of her response: "Monarch behavior, particularly monarch migration, is one of the most complex and interesting performances in the natural world, and I would love the opportunity to be a part of the research and outreach surrounding these fascinating creatures.  I remember studying the life cycle of monarch butterflies as a young child and gaining such a great appreciation for their tenacity, which defies their delicate appearance. I am excited to educate the public about these far-­traveling pollinators so that others can experience the same spirit of inquiry that I felt as a child.

Katie Burns with the very first monarch she tagged, 9/1/15 at Cape May Point.
Clearly the Monarch Monitoring Project is once again in good hands.  We hope that many of you reading this blog will find one or more opportunities to visit Cape May Point this fall.  We have a new opportunity for you to visit one or more members of our research team this fall.  Every day, from Sept. 13 through Oct. 18, our team will be present at 11:00 am at the Triangle Park in Cape May Point, located at the junction of Lighthouse and Coral Avenues.  Come visit with the team and chat about monarch biology and migration.  As in past years, we will have many tagging demos at Cape May Point State Park.  These are held at 2:00 pm, and the dates this year are Sept. 12, 18, 19, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, and Oct. 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 17.  If you're on the hawk watch platform one afternoon don't be surprised if there's an impromptu tagging demo up there, too!  And visit the CMBO Northwood Center or the Nature Center of Cape May to see displays about monarch biology, which include monarch caterpillars and, soon, which will also include monarchs in the pupa, or chrysalis stage.

Cape May Point sunset, 9/1/15.