Thursday, September 6, 2007

Flight of the Monarchs

The Monarch butterfly, a member of the Endangered Species List, has once again begun its semi-annual migration. My first sighting of the orange and black beauties this May 9th, but their northern trek started from central Mexico the second week of March. It seems that the longer day light hours in the spring trigger the butterfly to get the yearly cycle going. In turn the same goes in the Fall when the daylight hours get shorter - means it's time to head south for warmer climates from the border of Canada. There seems to be three separate populations of Monarchs. One that lives on the west side of the Rockies and winters in California, then those on the east side of the Rockies that migrate to central Mexico ,with the third group along the eastern seaboard finding winter quarters in Florida. One of the reasons our decision to buy our timber property was the time of year we first started looking at it. The Monarchs were hanging in bunches on the tips of the oak tree branches, we discovered that it is one of the favorite perches for resting butterflies. September 8 - 20th is the time Iowa usually sees winged wonders pass through. However, as we sat down to enjoy a community picnic on Labor Day several miles to the west the Sycamore tree tips were alive with movement. Monarchs jockeying for their own space to rest before they embarked on their next leg of the journey...Monarchs at Rest