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9/03/2007

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Monarch migration at TTP

(Seabrooke Leckie/TTPBRS)

Friday afternoon (August 31) was a spectacular day for Monarch butterflies at Tommy Thompson Park. Notable numbers were moving through the count area during the morning period, which inspired a visit to the Lighthouse area in the afternoon. Several small tree stands were checked between Peninsula B and the lighthouse, and an estimated 17,000-25,000 Monarchs were discovered roosting in numerous sheltered patches within this stretch. The largest congregation numbered an estimated 10,000 individuals, in the leeward side of the tree stand nearest the lighthouse. The butterflies were difficult to detect from the road, but walking into the stand caused them to take flight, creating an impressive swirling cloud of fragile wings. Most of the Monarchs had disappeared by the same time the following day, encouraged to push on south by favourable north winds. Unfortunately, because of the detonations taking place at the spit that day, which required the evacuation of the park, we were unable to schedule our Members' Monarch walk for that day. However, we expect that this was just the first wave of Monarchs to pass through the park, and hope to see similar numbers accumulate again in the next couple of weeks!

(Seabrooke Leckie/TTPBRS)