I did a visual survey of much of the 8,600 acres of the Konza Prairie Biological Station. I estimated ~100 Monarchs/clump of Goldenrod with each "clump" being about the size of a basketball court. From there I extrapolated to get the number of 16,700. If anything, I grossly underestimated the number of Monarchs out there.
[Additional information contributed by observer, added by Journey North, Tuesday, 09/21/21]:
I covered most of the 8,600 acres of the Konza Prairie Biological Station in a Kubota UTV - I spent a total of 2 hrs. visually surveying the area on Saturday and another 2 hours on Sunday. Much of the KPBS is either covered with Goldenrod (Tall, Rigid, Canada spp.) - i.e., Goldenrod is readily available. It became evident that the Goldenrod was covered with Monarchs who were actively feeding on the Goldenrod, to such an extent that they were hesitant to fly when I walked into a patch. There would be some of the butterflies who would flush up, but most of them stayed attached to their flowers. I estimated that for every "section" (basketball court size) of Goldenrod, there were at least 100 Monarchs. By travelling around Konza, I counted the number of basketball courts of Goldenrod to come up with the 16,700. I did the same thing on Sunday, September 19th and came up with >20,000 butterflies. I believe I vastly undercounted the number of butterflies out there.
Time of day - early afternoon. From 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Temps were warm - about 88 degrees F. Breezes were light on Saturday and breezier on Sunday
Monarch activity = feeding, feeding, and more feeding - preferring Goldenrod and Blue Pitcher Sage wildflowers. They really didn't want to fly much. There were very few engaged in directional flying - I saw Monarchs flying in all different directions. I have tons of photos and some video of you want any of it.
Latitude: 39.1 Longitude: -96.6
Observed by: Jill
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