Oct 06-15

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2015: October: Oct 06-15
Monarch butterflies in Escanaba    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Marilyn Bachorik
Several dozen spotted together    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Marilyn Bachorik
Gathering for migration    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Marilyn Bachorik

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 08:07 am:

After we featured the field filled with sandhill cranes that were gathering together for their migration south, Marilynn Bachorik was in the Escanaba area and spotted several dozen Monarch Butterflies all gathered together feeding from these purple flowers. Come to find out, they were grouping together for their migration south, too.

Good thing these Purple Astor wildflowers are still around to fuel up the Monarchs for their long flight to Mexico (up to 3000 miles) where they spend their winter months in the forests high in the Mexican mountains. Nature has amazing ways to survive and these delicate little creatures know when it's time to head south by the length of the days and the temperature changes during the season. They only make the round trip once, since they have a short lifespan, but the following year, their children's grandchildren will make the trip, often to the same winter roosts, even the same trees. The Monarchs are the only butterflies to make this long, two way migration trip. Other butterflies make the trip south one way or for much shorter distances.

I guess technically, you could label these beautiful Monarch Butterflies as "snowbirds", since they're like many a Yooper snowbird that head south for the winters and then back north in the spring, too.

FOOTNOTE: Yesterday's shots from Susan Hooker and Henry Sakari of the Super Moon last week were outstanding. If you missed them, just click here: Monday, October 5th, to take a look at them!

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 08:26 am:

Oh my goodness...butterflies and flowers...two of
my favorite things. Thanks for these gorgeous
pictures to start off my Tuesday!!

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 08:28 am:

Butterflies are free. Astors and mums, my favorite fall flowers.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 08:44 am:

Excellent photos, Marilyn!!!

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 08:49 am:

Bright, clear and colorful details...WOW!

By Donna (Donna) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 09:10 am:


By Just me (Jaby) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 09:21 am:

Outstanding photos!

By Duane P. (Islandman43) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 09:52 am:

Great photos of the king of the butterflies. I happened to see a documentary on the Monarch and discovered that when they are caterpillars they only eat milkweed and there is less and less of that around. When they make such a long migration they ride the air currents just like the birds do. Life ain't all butterfly dancing and nectar for the Monarch.

By jbuck (Jbuck) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 09:58 am:

The combo of orange and purple really make for striking images!

Have heard many folks are gathering the milkweed seeds and planting them these days!

By MarilynnB (Marilynnb) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 10:23 am:

Thanks, everyone. We were so thrilled to see the gathering of
the sandhill cranes on our way to Escanaba and then the huge
added bonus of seeing the monarchs gathering for their flight,
too. It was a GREAT day!

By jbuck (Jbuck) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 10:31 am:


Thanks for capturing those two 'gatherings' and sharing them with us! It makes our day as well!

By Greta Jones (Urbanescapees) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 02:19 pm:

Beautiful! I wonder if these guys will end up in Pacific Grove California. That's really a sight to see - they hang in large clusters from the trees there.

By Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 03:52 pm:

Beautiful! I love butterflies + butterfly photos.

By D. A. (Midwested) on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 09:51 pm:

I was personally amazed at how little I knew about Monarchs until recently. The most interesting aspect is how the annual migration cycle is so totally lopsided. The north bound trek in the Spring requires 3 (sometimes 4) generations. Each north bound generation’s life span lasts only 2 to 6 weeks. Each north bound generation’s life span traverses only about one-third of the total distance north. Then in the Fall it’s left to the 4th generation to make the ENTIRE southbound leg in one lifespan, stopping only at dark to roost and rest. Their long, hard work is rewarded with the “luxury” to hibernate for 6 to 8 months as if they are “snow bird” immigrants. These UP Monarchs pictured above most likely are on their way to Mexico. Next Spring they will wake up in order to mate and produce offspring that will live a much much shorter life than their parents.

Almost everything we know about Monarchs was learned in the past few decades, but how does one generation know where they are going when they are 4 generations removed from having been there? By comparison, migrating birds are simply returning to where they were born or are following others who have already been there. These butterflies have no idea where they are going but yet they arrive.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 08:12 am:

Interesting stuff, D.A.

By Greta Jones (Urbanescapees) on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 12:31 pm:

Hey Mary, I wonder what happened to the first half of my comment??

By Greta Jones (Urbanescapees) on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 12:35 pm:

Wow! Now it reappeared! Vortex or my computer ??
Sorry, never mind

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 01:49 pm:

So happy to read about the monarch migration. I have seen very
few of those beauties the past few months. The aster crop, on the
other hand, has been healthy and vibrant.

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 06:53 pm:

These look more like spring than autumn.
Thanks, Marilyn!

I'm back, friends, just trying to get used to this new keyboard.;-/

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