Letter from Ana and Pato Moreno: Once Again, the Monarch Butterflies Surprise Us
After a season with many changes and a very busy month of February, in the first week of March we could see a decrease in both, the colony of butterflies in Cerro Pelón, and in the guests of JM Butterfly B&B.
During the second week of March, there was a lot of butterfly activity, we came to think that during that week most of them left, leaving around 15% of the colony. It is important to mention that it was difficult to count how many trees were covered with butterflies at that time, there were many of them, but they were scattered and very active, even so you could see clusters in at least 40 trees.
On Thursday, March 10, I had the opportunity to visit the colony and I was able to observe that around 10:30 in the morning, there were already many butterflies going down from the mountain, on their way north. A few of them were returning to Cerro Pelón. When we arrived at the place known as Las Canoas, we thought that we were no longer going to see them in clusters or in the trees, but there was still monarchs.
As local people we can visit the colony in Cerro Pelón at any time, and it is very normal to see people from the surrounding area enjoying this phenomenon.
According to Pato, on March 12 a considerable decrease was noticed in the colony of La Cañada (close to Las Canoas). And at that moment the colony of La Peña disintegrated in its entirety. On those days the temperatures were above 19°C, reaching up to 23°C.
On this same day, Pato said, when he was going up to the mountain for his work, he saw many butterflies coming down around 9:30 am, and later that same day around noon, in Macheros we saw many of them flying. It seemed as if they were going south, but in reality it was the wind that was taking them in that direction. A little later, around 1:30 pm we saw that they were coming back to the north. We believe that since it was already late, those butterflies went back to Cerro Pelon.
There didn’t seem to be many butterflies anymore, but somehow, they came back together. As we had mentioned before, the colony this year was very large, so we think that because it was split on three different parts, they came back together into one on March 13 in Las Canoas. They were mating by the thousands.
It is normal for us that the butterflies leave their colonies around the spring equinox, which may happen again this season. But it hasn’t always been like this, because the previous season we only had butterflies until the end of February.
—Pato & Ana Moreno