Monarch Migration commences in southern Ontario

knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)August 25, 2006

The past week or so has seen an increase in the number of Monarch Butterflies passing through my woods but today was a first for me. I was watching at dusk as one after the other, Monarchs came to rest in a low hanging branch of one of our Sugar maple trees. Before it got too dark I tried to photograph them but alas my little digital camera did not have a powerful enough zoom lense to capture the spectacle. By the time it got dark the limb of the tree was covered in the drowsy Monarchs who once in a while would stir, open their wings and flash bright orange in the dying light.

It was quite a cool thing to see and something I've never seen before in all my 40 years.

I once saw something that has remained etched in my mind for years now... a migration stageing of Blue Jays! It was quite surreal for a couple of reasons. It was October and we had checked into a Provincial Park on the shoreline of Lake Erie and were the only campers in the whole park. We pitched our tent and then sat in our lawn chairs with our eyes closed for a bit but I kept noticing that the bird squawking kept getting louder and louder. I watched lazily as blue jays kept landing on the grass throughout the campgrounds. After a while the noise made me laugh and then shortly after I had to elbow my husband awake to see the spectacle that had slowly been created. Throughout the park, barely a spot of green grass could be seen through the sea of blue that was ALL BLUE JAYS! My husband and I just sat there in awe as the jays continued to land around us for almost as far as you could see. At dusk the jays dispersed into the woods and the rest of our camping time never saw such a large stageing of birds as we had seen the afternoon and evening before. We gave eachother a high-five and mentally noted a "cool event" in our birding careers.


southern Ontario, CANADA

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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

It seems to be a banner year for monarchs in my area. My fields have been loaded with them. They swarm over my iron weed.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 9:38AM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

This morning when I looked out from the second story windows, there were thousands of Monarchs. I tried to take the screens out to see if my camera could capture a bit of it and stirred hundreds of them into the air...the sight made me laugh out loud :o) There are literally thousands of them now but I can't get a good picture. I took a few of the closest ones with my zoom lense but they are pretty crappy given the distance the butterflies were away from me. I'll post them anyway...

At first glance you see nothing in this picture but focus your eyes on the brownish orange and then you will start seeing them. It's a shame I spooked them opening the window b/c most of the butterflies from this branch flew into the air when the window made a loud noise.

Sorry for the poor quality. I wish I had a better camera. It does pretty good for macro and regular photos but is crap for long shots. I wish I could go take pictures from all my neighbours upstairs windows too ;o)


    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 9:53AM
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There is something about a mass migration that is awe-inspiring. One time I was directly underneath about 1000 canada geese, migrating south. It was cloudy/overcast, and they were flying low, maybe 200 feet above the ground. There is no sign of monarch migration here in Madison, yet.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 9:56AM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

This is only our 3rd fall living here and this is the first time we've seen this. I don't know if we weren't looking or if the Monarchs took a little detour or what but I'm glad they did.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 11:18AM
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