Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Friday, September 7, 2012

A Flutter.... Then A Blizzard

The Baron
and I were driving along a track on our way to one of my favorite
hiking/birding trails. To the right was a prairie, to the left a long line of shrubs and scrub trees. The flutter of monarch butterflies coming off the
shrubs quickly became evident. The flutter soon began to look like a blizzard
of orange & black for the next quarter of a mile.

I fumbled to get my little cheapo camera out of my pocket. I like the camera because it does
fit in my pocket, while the binocs dangle from my neck. The following pics thru
the windshield doesn't come close to doing justice to what I actually
saw....but you get the idea.
Like many of
our migrating birds, the monarchs gather in the fall for an epic journey south. My
friend, Mr Science (Gary) gives the following succinct explantion.

"MONARCHS
PRODUCE FOUR GENERATIONS EACH YEAR. THREE OF THESE GENERATIONS ONLY LIVE ABOUT
ONE MONTH EACH, BUT ONE GENERATION(THE 4TH GENERATION) LIVES FOR ABOUT 8 MONTHS
AND THAT IS THE GENERATION THAT EACH FALL MAKES A 1400+ MILE MIGRATION TO
MEXICO."
His notebook
"Nature Notes" on the flora and fauna of Fillmore County, Minnesota
can be found at http://fillmorenature.blogspot.com/
I was, perhaps, a little early this year in checking some favorite monarch roosts but the sad fact is their numbers are way down over the long term average. This years drought, especially in the Upper Midwest has had a bad effect. These beautiful creatures depend on milkweed. The long term prospects are even bleaker. Loss of habitat is hurting
butterflies in the same way as it has our songbirds. Development and agricultural monoculture are very detrimental….

21 comments:

  1. We have had a mini migration so far but it does look like the migration will go through central Iowa this year. It is an amazing sight each time that I see it.

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  2. Oh, that must have been a nice surprise. I've not seen them doing that. Lucky you!

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  3. I am totally amazed at the Monarch life cycles and migrations and have read a lot on the subject. What a treat you had in seeing a large gathering.

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  4. How wonderful to see all of them at once!

    I see the geese starting to fly south. Very sad that they feel it is time already. :(

    xo Catherine

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  5. oh, that is so cool!! it has been years since i've seen even one monarch.

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  6. I can only imagine how wonderful it was to see that Monarch 'blizzard' in person. I do hope these beautiful creatures do make a comeback.

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  7. What a great surprise! Lucky you!!!

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  8. How lucky to get the chance to see this!!! I've only seen 2 Monarchs this year :0(

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  9. How wonderful to see it! And to know they are starting a long, long journey. Summer is definitely over, isn't it? :-)

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  10. i have tagged monarchs for years as part of a U of KS migration study. What a geat experience!

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  11. Very very cool. I have never seen a Monarch. Only on TV.

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  12. I've seen something similar twice, once was in Big Sur, the eucalyptus trees near the beach were full of them, fluttering...looked like christmas trees. The other time was driving down central Baja, they were crossing the long straight highway across the desert. The car was covered, literally, with Monarch remains.

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  13. I vividly remember being a kid and seeing a huge migration through our area one fall... the skies were simply FULL of orange and it was magnificent! There is a new IMAX movie coming out you'll want to try and catch:

    http://www.nooga.com/157068/monarch-migration-demystified-in-new-imax-film-premiering-in-chattanooga/

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  14. That's neat that you got to see that! You are at the top of the migration! There is a NOVA movie about this topic which I watched with my son that you might like called "Journey of the Butterflies."

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  15. How wonderful! It must have been a magical site to see! I plant more and more Milkweed every year so that some will return here:)

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  16. What a privilege it was for you to be part of their migration. I've never seen it but can imagine how lovely it must be.

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  17. Wow, how fortunate you were! Sad to hear numbers declining though.

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  18. Meese is a ring , of course.
    Moths to butterflies.
    And nobody knows more about it than Teresa.
    Who's now in a pickle.
    With all that pollination.

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  19. Beautiful photographs, I like to admire such views. I am greeting

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  20. Wow, The Monarchs are stunning! We were lucky to see the Monarchs on their journey over the lake last Oct. It was a sight to behold seeing so many fluttering above the water and taking float high in the sky. I have not seen as many butterflies this year as in years past. I was hoping for a bumper crop of them in the gardens...

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  21. Sheer magic, to be in a "flock" (?) of migrating butterflies.

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