About 100 monarchs roosted at the lighthouse grounds on South Bass island Friday night. I watched a cluster form and grow to 39 butterflies, another grew to 21. Most of the clusters were scattered throughout the hackberry tree next to the sunflower field, and a cluster of 39 formed over the driveway to the sunflower field owner's house. More were scattered in the bushes along the gravel driveway. The air was calm, warm and mosquitoes were biting like crazy. But it was beautiful to watch the monarchs feed in the sunflower field and then flutter about the inside of the hackberry tree canopy, looking for a cluster to join. I have some video of the clusters forming. Yay, migration is looking good this year.
I saw 1 tagged monarch, but could not zoom in enough to see the code. I went back the next morning at sunrise to search for it. I found a tagged monarch on the leeward side of the hackberry tree after an hour of searching. AETW 064. It turned out it was tagged by Jackie Riley, a resident on the island. I was hoping it had been tagged in Canada, oh well! The wind had picked up considerably overnight. The morning felt cool, it did not feel like 65F--I had to put on my coat. Winds were sustained from the south at 16mph. Surprisingly, I saw lots of birds heading SW out over the water about 100-150 feet up, gliding into the south winds--somehow they figured out how to sail on a south headwind? Amazing. I saw flocks of seagulls, and a very few raptors. Later, flocks of a smaller bird, wings flapping furiously, were doing the same but headed south. I don't know what they were.
Saturday night I had hoped to find larger monarch roosts at the lighthouse grounds due to the headwinds, but I only located about a dozen monarchs. They roosted on the leeward side of the hackberry tree. All day, I saw only 1 monarch on the interior of the island. It seems it was warm enough that despite the strong headwind, the monarchs left the island. Point Pelee, just north of my location, went from 180 monarchs on Friday night to 125 on Saturday night.
Put In Bay, OH
Latitude: 41.6 Longitude: -82.8
Observed by: candy
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