Monday, September 21, 2015

Wonderful Monarch Celebration at Brukner Nature Center, September 13, 2015

Monarch, photo taken by Tom Persing, August, 2015

Steve and I spent the entire afternoon at Brukner's Monarch Celebration.

Here he is looking at a chrysalis that has turned black.  We watched for a while but not long enough.  When we stopped back a half hour later, the butterfly had emerged and was resting its newly outspread wings.

Outside on a picnic table we found more Chrysalises  as well as caterpillars munching on Common Milkweed.  I love the beautiful gold dots on the chrysalises.

We stopped at a tent made of netting and found more butterflies.  Ruth was in the tent talking about Monarchs with the visitors. The temperature was in the sixties Fahrenheit.  It would have been fun to see the butterflies fly about in the tent but everyone was able to get a good look at them because the temperatures were cool.

Steve found four butterflies in this corner.

Back inside we found another chrysalis that had turned black.  We waited a while but not long enough.

In the library, Miss June was reading a story about Monarchs to preschoolers so we listened, too.

This is the book she was reading.

By the end of the story all the listeners were repeating the caterpillar's words with Miss June.  "Gotta Go!  Gotta Go!  Gotta go to Mexico"

Steve and I watched the Flight of the Butterflies in the auditorium.  It was a 2-D movie but was a version of the 3-D film seen in Imax theaters.  I didn't realize that the area where the Monarchs overwinter in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico was not found until 1975.

The site was found by the first Mexican citizen scientists in the Monarch Watch program, Ken Brugger and Catalina Aquado.

The Monarch Watch program was started by Fred and Norah Urquhart of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The Urquharts studied Monarchs for many years and created the first tags for Monarchs.

The Urquharts visited the wintering site in January of 1976 and almost immediately, Fred found a Monarch with a tag on it released by two students and their teacher in Chaska, Minnesota in August of 1975. It was clear the monarch had traveled over 2000 miles to its wintering ground.

Steve decided he wanted to watch Ruth tag Monarchs so we walked down to the amphitheater about 3:30.

The green arrow points to the tag on the butterfly.

Monarch on its caterpillar's host plant, Common Milkweed.

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