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, October 16, 2015

Friday evening update

It was a pleasant day for observing and studying monarchs in Cape May Point.  Our team gathered early this morning at the dune crossing near St. Peter's Chapel, where monarchs had been observed going to roost on Thursday evening.  Many visitors joined us as we watched the monarchs leave the roost one by one, first sunning on nearby pine trees and then heading into the dunes to feed on the nectar of seaside goldenrod flowers.

Part of the monarch roost this morning.  Note tagged monarch at lower right.
For much of the day we watched and tagged monarchs from the paths crossing the dunes.  A few drifted inland to gardens, especially gardens along Harvard Ave., adjacent to the dunes.  It didn't seem like many monarchs departed for Delaware, but it also didn't seem like many new ones were arriving.

Three monarchs feeding on seaside goldenrod.
Late in the afternoon many visitors gathered again near St. Peter's, hoping to see another monarch roost.  About 50 gathered in one cluster, but on Thursday evening about 150 were here.  We searched many areas around Cape May Point and found other small roosts nearby on Harvard Ave., on Lincoln Ave., at Cape May Point State Park, and along Alexander Ave., but no large roosts were found.

Monarchs gathering on pine tree near St. Peter's dune crossover.
While everyone present was hoping to find larger aggregations of monarchs, all found some satisfaction from the beauty of monarchs almost glowing in the late afternoon light.  A gorgeous sunset helped, too.  How many monarchs will be in Cape May Point this weekend?  We really can't make a good guess, but we're hoping for another good show.  We can promise to present a monarch talk and tagging demonstration at 2 pm on Saturday at the East Shelter in Cape May Point State Park, our last such program of the year.  If you're anyone near Cape May Point we hope you'll join us.

Sunset over Delaware Bay.

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