Letter From Pato Moreno: A Cold Week
As it was mentioned in the previous report, in January it began to feel very cold and sometimes it felt a little warm during the day. But this week it has felt even colder. As in the other sanctuaries on January 15th at 3:43 in the afternoon it began to rain, and we even had some hail. I noticed that in Cerro Pelon there was less hail than we could see on Facebook posts that the guides of El Rosario Sanctuary posted.
On that day we were in La Lagunita, near to the colony. We needed to descend as soon as possible because it was dangerous to be up on the mountain with so much lightning and at that moment it was impossible to check the colony. We had to wait until the next day when the weather conditions improved to go and check if there was any effect on the colony.
On January 16th, we could see only one small branch of an oyamel fir tree was broken from the storm. It was covered with butterflies, and all of them on that branch were on the ground and couldn’t fly. Over the course of the day the sun warmed them up a little bit and most of them were able to climb at least on some shrubs or dry branches that were nearby, and this saved them from dying. Although the forest is young, and even if the trees are not as high to protect them, the place where the butterflies are is more dense and that helped to protect them.
The next three days remained cloudy, and almost without sun, the temperature was 8°C, until finally on January 20 it was possible to see some activity of the butterflies again. They were flying around looking for nectar or water. Also, something we noticed that day was that the butterflies did not go so far from the colony. It could be because the sun wouldn’t last too much longer, even though there was activity for at least two hours. This was incredible and makes us think that the colony is moving little by little, because we saw some of them settle in the lower trees next to the colony.
However, again on Friday 21st the cold returned and almost throughout the day it was cloudy, we can say that temperatures did not reach even 10 °c. So, in that day we didn’t see as much activity as the day before. But we’ll let you know what’s happening here on the Cerro Pelon Colony in the next weeks.
—Pato Moreno, CEPANAF Ranger and Butterflies & Their People Supervisor
Note to our readers: English translation is courtesy of Ana Moreno.