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, November 10, 2017

End of season

It's about 11 pm on the evening of Nov. 10, and our prolonged monarch migration season is certainly ending tonight, as the temperature in Cape May has reached 29 and the predicted low is 25.  We'll hope that many of the monarchs that were still lingering at the Point yesterday will have moved on, heading south to Mexico.

It had been a good monarch migration season through late October, when the migration generally finishes up.  Much to our surprise, many monarchs arrived in Cape May during the last few days of October, with the roost shown above, along the St. Peter's dune crossover, numbering over a thousand monarchs on the night of October 31.

Many monarchs crossed Delaware Bay on Nov. 1, but we continued to see a few monarchs around Cape May Point right up to the 9th, when we managed to tag over 40.  Will monarchs lingering this late make it to Mexico?  We really don't know, so that's why we continue to tag.  If one of these late monarchs makes it to Mexico and the tag is found, we will then be able to answer that question.

Our team is assembling the season's census and tagging data, and in a few weeks we will offer a retrospective on the season.  But before that, we want to say thanks to all of our volunteers, thanks to our seasonal naturalists Stephanie Augustine and Rebecca Zerlin, thanks to the 2000+ visitors who attended our programs this fall (and the countless others we met with informally), thanks to all who have made contributions to support our work, and thanks to all who have made some effort to support and protect monarchs and their habitat, and to those who have educated others about the biology of these remarkable little insects.

One of the last monarchs tagged at Cape May Point in 2017.