Monarchs, that is – five of them on a day I didn’t expect any. In fact, I walked for over half an hour and passed through prime Monarch territory at the south end and didn’t see a single Monarch. But between the towers and the parking lot I was surprised by seeing five. also saw several Cloudless Sulphurs, Cabbage Whites ,and I believe an American Painted Lady.
Yes, it was about 52 degrees and calm and near noon, so it was a good time for butterfly activity. No sign of the other migrants – the warblers though. Not a single Yellow Rump – in fact, I don’t think I saw a single songbird, nor did I see any shore birds and I walked the entire east and south coasts before heading down the central road. I did get a glimpse – in fact two glimpses – of something sleek and grey and flying very fast. My best guess – a Merlin, but there’s no way I can be sure.
Here’s a sampling of what I did see, starting with a barge towed by a tug so far off that it’s out of the picture. These are common – just as coasting schooners were common a century ago. I think I would prefer seeing a coasting schooner – we do pay a price for modern efficiency.
I think I read somewhere it takes the kids three years to develop the full, male suit of feathers. (I think that’s the same as the Herring Gull.) In any event, the different arrangements continue to catch my eye – here’s a mature male, an immature, and a female.
Cloudless Sulphur – they are beautiful. They stay the winter, I understand. My biologist friend thinks they just sort of shut down – go into a form of hibernation. Wonder when they’ll stop being active?
OK – here he is – one of the five Monarchs. Hope he still plans to head south!