Letter From Estela Romero: Monarchs Take Their Time Deciding Location
Even though temperatures have dropped drastically, from an average of 25-27 C under the shade, down to 7-10 C, the general weather for monarchs and other insects is very dry. Since the season started last November, dry conditions continue to be a concern. Over the weekend, the number of visitors at both sites has been good. Even during weekdays, visitor numbers have not been bad.
El Rosario Sanctuary: The colony continues to be of a fair size – just around 60-80 trees occupied last week. Monarchs are still shifting locations. As the days go by, they have shifted a little more northeast in a downward direction. The colony settled by a small creek, with most clusters being formed from a mid-height down to the bottom of the giant Oyamel trees. Local guides assure us that most of the monarchs are located at a second colony which is not open to the public since it is preserved for research.
Sierra Chincua Sanctuary: The colony here has moved also to Mojonera Alta point, located neither higher or lower in elevation, but rather lateral. The size of the colony is only fair for this time of the year. As observed at the El Rosario Sanctuary, the clusters can be seen from a mid to bottom position in the trees. Local guides here say they have not yet found any additional, or possibly main and second colonies with a larger population density. These guides continue to search the forest of the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary.
Over the coming weeks, monarchs might still take time to increase their colonies in volume and density. January shall be the month of consolidation and official estimates of population. I shall then return with Spring weekly updates giving you all, for sure, exciting news on this extraordinary phenomenon.
Angangueo, Michoacán, México.