Monarch PEAK Migration

Date: 09/21/2021

Number: 1000

Spent a while at Concordia University this afternoon- The strong front last night followed with today's good NW/N winds suggested good potential for raptor movement. Cloud cover was helpful for scanning and providing definition. Unfortunately, in 30 minutes I only had a single red tail, five turkey vultures, and a peregrine that was headed straight south and was also remarkably high. The highlight however, was a substantial movement of monarch butterflies. In under 30 minutes I broke 1,000! It was spectacular- Many monarchs were out over the lake. Some were so high that you needed a second or two to allow your eyes to adjust and focus closer in range- I've watched raptors at Concordia on and off for more than 30 years and can't ever remember a monarch day like today!

[Additional information contributed by observer, added by Journey North, 09/22/21]:

All counting was done naked eye (not with binoculars). I only counted individuals that I could easily see- they were moving very fast and deliberate- straight south. I stood still facing directly north and they just kept passing me up. None deviated their direction except one that tried to nectar. I guess that would be directional flight? As I mentioned, I only saw one individual try to drop and nectar but it quickly gave up- winds were pretty brisk along the bluff. The Monarchs were very cooperative and zipped by in small groups of 5-10 at a time although one group total was 21. Photographing would have been near impossible, they were flying all around me and moving very fast. They were flying at all elevations- Because I was initially hawk watching, I was scanning frequently with binoculars and could see many extremely high up- easily more than 100 feet high. Some were below the bluff out over the water- perhaps twenty feet above water but well below the bluff. I didn't even try to count those. I began counting at 1:16pm until 1:45 when I got back in my car, so 29 minutes or less! I happen to know the exact start time because I had just hung up my cell with a friend and stepped out of the car and just began counting.

Mequon, WI

Latitude: 43.3 Longitude: -87.9

Observed by: dan
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