Like I mentioned in the last post on the Locust Borer, I recently went on a bird watching field trip with members from the Buffalo Ornithological Society. On our previous outing, we were looking for shorebirds. It was a very successful trip.
Sunday, we went to Tifft Nature Preserve a place I have taken you to often looking for more migrating birds.
I will post some far away shots of birds coming up along with what it is like going birding with a group of seasoned birdwatchers. It probably is not what you might think.
We did see many varieties of birds, some familiar to me, and others not. There are so many varieties of Warblers and I only knew the ones I learned from the trip to the Audubon Bird Banding Seminar. I saw the “new” Warblers, but for such a short moment that it yielded no photos.
Like I said in the post, Black Saddlebags Dragonfly, “You set out with a subject in mind and of course that is not what you find.”
But they found what they were looking for – lots and lots of birds – it just took knowing where to look. From my perspective, we also were fortunate to see dozens of migrating Monarchs. Seeing them in numbers is refreshing at this time of year. You can tell by the images, Joe Pye Weed was popular.
But oddly, I visited three more nature preserves after Tifft on Sunday, fields where butterflies and Joe Pye Weed are most common, and no Monarchs. The fields below are filled with milkweed pods just starting to burst and no caterpillar damage was seen on all the plants I inspected. This was a surprise.
Seeing Monarchs at Tifft was very promising, but not seeing them elsewhere might be telling us more.
I remember last year when traveling to Pennsylvania in October, I was seeing scores of Monarchs flying towards me on the highway, mile after mile. They were barely above the vehicles and following the highway in their migratory route. It was quite a sight and a treacherous route. Quite a few did not clear cars.
Seeing so few this year, the BOS members were all discussing the likelihood of not seeing Monarchs again next year. Each with a camera was photographing them, mentioning the possibility of not seeing them in the future. A few were quite knowledgeable on the plight of the Monarch.
Like other butterfly species I pictured in Breakfast, Bedtime and Losing Butterflies, I saw a number of Monarchs with damaged wings. To get some information on the butterfly decline, see Breakfast, Bedtime and Losing Butterflies.
This is GWGT’s 600th post, and it seems fitting to be one to feature the Monarchs.