Notes from Mexico
from Dr. Bill Calvert
It’s wet and rainy, a peculiar climate for Mexico. On Monday, another
group of us, nature lovers and teachers from many states climbed the 781
feet to the Rosario colony to find an ideal mixture of sun and clouds.
The sun pulses between the clouds caused profound activity. Butterflies
flew everywhere. The return of the clouds briefly increased their tempo
as the basking butterflies pushed off into the air to avoid being trapped
in exposed positions. (See "Cloud
Effect" for more information about this butterfly behavior.)
of Monday/Tuesday it began to rain. The skies opened, and it poured like
the beginning of the wet season. Maybe as much as two months early. It
has been raining and occasionally hailing ever since. We dared not ascent
the slippery slopes to the Pelon colony as originally planned. We reasoned
that even the sure footed horses, a necessity at Pelon, would have trouble
negotiating the steep slopes.
We had heard
that a period of intense hot weather last week and over the weekend, had
driven the butterflies down slope, or down canyon, at Pelon and Rosario,
and especially at Chincua. We also heard that the Herrada colony was no
more: Dispersed and headed northward.
it’s a little different. Nature provides us with some interesting
natural experiments to test our ideas about how things are. I hope we
are paying attention.
Q. So, are the monarchs coming north?
A. Well yeah, they have to be coming north. They’re
still many millions here, though, and they haven’t moved since Monday
I’m sure. But I’m sure that last week—I’m not
sure which days they were---but they said there were three days of very,
very hot weather. And that’s when they left in great numbers and
What does it look like when the monarchs leave?
A. It depends on where you are, really. Where we are,
around Angangueo, all you see is they’re descending the little arroyos
and so forth, toward Angangueo, from Rosario. They’re just pouring
down and into the town and then they keep going over the town and off
to the north. (We haven’t seen that this year, but that’s
what it looks like in prior years.) Another place that you see them migrating
is when they’re leaving Pelon they cross the main highway and they’re
headed from south to north. And if you take the trouble to go north of
the colonies, north of Chincua, you can see many, many, many in the sky
headed north. But from where we are, which is somewhat south of everything,
we see very little at this time.