Flying south along the inner side of the beach dunes. One in ten would stop briefly to feed on coastal Goldenrod. During one 30 minute observation, 25 monarchs flew by.
[Additional information contributed by observer, added by Journey North, 10/18/21]:
I was located on the first floor of a beach house that is ocean front separated from the beach by a sand dune. My 30 minute count was made from the covered balcony shown in the picture below. The remaining count was made from inside looking at much the same view. I only counted monarchs that appeared in view from the north and passed in front of or over the balcony. Some were counted as they flew over the dune, but most were counted as they flew over the sand between the house and the dune. Some monarchs flew between my house the house north of mine, I didn't count those. The rate was slow enough that it was easy to count them when I was observing.
My observations started in the mid-morning and finished late afternoon. During a 30 minute period in the late morning I counted 25 monarchs. The remaining 191 were counted when I looked away from other activities and saw a monarch flying by. I believe the 50/hour rate was maintained for a lot of the time, but I don't have any observational data to back that up.
Unlike the monarch or monarchs I had observed during the previous 7 days, all of these monarchs were following the dune line south. The wind was blowing quite hard from the south, so they were flying less than 10 feet above the ground for the most part. I would say that a maximum of 1 in 10 would stop to nectar on the coastal Goldenrod which is abundant and in full bloom (bees, wasps and Common Buckeyes have been nectaring on them as well) or occasionally on geraniums.
Mainly sunny day (partially cloudy at the beach means a lot of sun), temps in the 70s, wind from the south. Unfortunately my wind gauge is broken so I don't have any record of the speed, but it was strong so I am sure the butterflies (I believe Common Buckeyes were migrating as well) found it easier to fly relatively close to the ground where they were more sheltered.
Ocean City, NJ
Latitude: 39.2 Longitude: -74.6
Observed by: Colin
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