Monarch Update 9/18/07

This past weekend was the first big push of migrating Monarch butterflies this season. Census figures showed the butterflies arriving Saturday afternoon. Huge roosts could be found in Cape May Point State Park by the hawk watch pavilion and at the end of the blue trail, numbering individuals into the hundreds. Sunday evening there was an especially large roost on Stites Ave. in Cape May Point, with an estimated 1,000 monarchs in one small grove of red cedar and aspen (Photo by Michael O'Brien).
Roosts like these are common during the peek of migration, especially after cold fronts like the one that occurred this weekend. Monarchs are believed to roost together as protection against cold and predators, as they mimic the dead leaves of a tree. Look for roosting Monarchs in Cape May Point, Stone Harbor, Avalon, or any area of sheltering trees when their local numbers are high.
Wind conditions have encouraged many of these Monarchs to leave, heading south. There are still many around, and many can be seen making their way across the bay to Delaware as wind remains favorable.

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