Gentlemen – and Monarchs – start your engines!

I mean start ’em now  ’cause the forecast for tomorrow is chilly – in the 30s in the morning!

OK – there were some neat small birds seen on today’s walk as well,  but there was a veritable flood of Monarchs! I counted 147 in about an hour, but at least 130 of those came in a half hour stretch south of the towers – and just about none on the road north of the towers. Here’s one of my favorite shots from the morning – and was typical of these cold-blooded creatures who use solar power to get their flight muscles warmed.

Monarch need to bask inthe sunand heat up their flight muscles to at least 55° F before they can fly, so this morning (10 am) under mostly cloudy skies in 60 degrees temps I saw a lot basking. (Click picture for larger image.)

Monarchs need to bask in the sun and heat up their flight muscles to at least 55° F before they can fly, so this morning (10 am) under mostly cloudy skies in 60 degrees temps I saw a lot basking. (Click picture for larger image.)

The area south of the towers is largely golden rod and pampas grass with a sandy pathway just above the beach. As I walked that path it semed like there would always be several Monarchs fluttering just ahead of me or off to one side -so many flying a tonce it was difficult to keep count.

Click picture for larger image.

Click picture for larger image.

One thing that never cease to amaze me is to look our over an apparently endless stretch of ocean and see Monarchs coming in – or heading off.

Click picture for larger version.

Click picture for larger version.

Below is the view from South Beach north towards the towers. Notice that there is a lot of pampas grass and goldenrod. Most of the Monarchs I saw were on the east – leeward – side of this and on – or around –  the goldenrod plants.

Click picture for larger version.

Click picture for larger version.

Nearer the towers and along the path leading south I saw these two little guys. My reading is they’re Yellow-rumped Warblers in their first winter garb. No, at this angle I don’t see the yellow rumps.

Click picture for larger version.

Click picture for larger version.

And here’s one alone posing for a photo-op!

Click picture for larger image.

Click picture for larger image.

Those two I saw on my way out. On my way back – near the same spot – I saw this one, who made sure I understood why he was named a Yellow-rumped” Warbler! Of course you have to look hard to see the rest of him 😉

Click picrure for larger image.

Click picture for larger image.

The eastern Phoebe’s are still hanging out by the road, but I was suprised to see this catbird (below). The ones in my yard headed south quite a while ago.

Click image for larger version.

Click image for larger version.

Back at the parking lot I saw one, lone Eider riding the waves to the west  – I assume in first winter garb.  I didn’t see any other seabirds or shorebirds – well cormorants and gulls, of course, but nothing unusual and I don’t know where the rest of the Eiders were.

Click image for a larger version.

Click image for a larger version.

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2 Responses to Gentlemen – and Monarchs – start your engines!

  1. Pingback: They’ve arrived, big time! « Gooseberry Journal

  2. Catherine Lord says:

    As a kid, growing up on Meridian St in Fall River, there were 100’s in the fields during the summer on milk weed plants. They were beautiful…As the trees started filling in the same space, the monarchs came less and less. I bet you wouldn’t even find them today. 😦

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