March 27, 2012
Unlike last year, the Monarchs seem to be leaving gradually and in smaller groups this year. There was a considerable number flying around or nectaring at the Senesios as I drove. However, they weren't jamming the way as it was last year.
This is the way the Sanctuary looks now. Most stands for souvenirs and food are closed until next season.
Mating takes place everywhere and along the pathway. The remains of Monarchs can be seen all around, a clear sign that the season has come to an end.
For more than a couple of weeks now, the whole colony has moved down right to the entrance of the Sanctuary. You can find them after having climbed only a few steps up the path! To my surprise, the colony is still considerable in size. Heavy clusters still hang from some trees. I would say there are still a dozen trees with clusters this size, and around 50 more trees with really small clusters or individual Monarchs.
One main purpose of the visit today was to document the way the overwintering site this season, called "Las Palmas", where Monarchs stayed from November to February looked like. Here the evidence. The site looks totally empty now.
The farewell message leaving the Sanctuary and the peaceful family life in the surrounding mountains felt simply nostalgic. The Matusalen generation survived another winter. In only a few days, all of them will have left. It is reassuring to know that they will come back to us by the end of the year. All my affection and gratitude to every one of you for having closely followed this marvelous journey throughout the season with the Monarch butterflies in our region. Your local reporter. Ma. Estela Romero, Angangueo, Michoacán, México.
Your local reporter,
Angangueo, Michoacán, México.