A large group (at least 200) was flying along the Trans Canada Trail just before a thunderstorm approached across Georgian Bay at about 5 pm. Most were flying about 1-3 meters above the ground.
My wife and I saw many clusters of 5 or 6 low flying adult monarchs at all times about 1 meter above and 1 meter below my head (I'm 1.93 meters tall) for about 15 continuous minutes along a .5 km section of the trail.
There were also some monarchs (far fewer than flying) that were landed on deciduous leaves. The monarchs could have been using the tree rows on both sides of the trail as shelter from the downpour & thunder/lightning that was rapidly approaching (10 minutes later the rain started as we hurried home) from the west over Georgian Bay.
The monarchs seemed to be flying back and forth on this trail but didn't seem to have an overall direction. It was calm in the forest but an open field was located about 20 meters to the west where the wind conditions are usually different. A large patch of Joe Pye Weed was immediately south of the area that we viewed the monarchs but the trail was elevated there making viewing more difficult. Goldenrod is frequent on the edge of farm fields & roadside ditches throughout this area.
We were debating as we walked about how many adult monarchs there were. We initially estimated at least 100 but as we continued to walk through new clusters, we upgraded our estimate that there must have been at least twice as many as our initial estimate.
Latitude: 44.7 Longitude: -80
Observed by: Pamela
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