March 2, 2013
I went up to the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary to investigate the next morning. The local people said there had been a considerable amount of snow early in the morning, but that it started to melt away as soon as the sun rose. I would guess there had been a 3 cm carpet of snow all over the sanctuaries and its surroundings.
As I drove down from Chincua, visitors were arriving from the surrounding towns with their young children to have some fun playing in the snow. I headed towards El Rosario Sanctuary and was surprised to see the large number of tourists already there in spite of the cold and cloudy day.
There was indeed a clear sign of an eventual massive leaving in that the Monarchs have now moved down from their original site at "Los Letreros" (where they were only one week ago) to the lowest part of this area and heading towards "Las Balsitas."
I would say the number of Monarchs was half of what I saw last week. They were no more than 10 -12 trees with clusters of good size for tourists to admire.
Again I saw no mating pairs of Monarchs probaby because the cold temperatures kept them inactive. The guides think isolated pairing has been taking place, but say that mass mating is about to begin.
The monarchs did not seem to have been disturbed by the snow, especially since we have had a fairly sunny morning with no frost at all. By noon time, the signs of snow at El Rosario were only perceptible as small spots remaining in the most forested areas.
I am concerned about the terrible drought in the coming months. Look at the deep dust in the path!
Temperatures to date have plummeted Monday and Tuesday, after the snowfall. We now have freezing cold at night below zero degrees Celsius in the town, so it must be in the sanctuaries around the minus 5 degrees Celsius at dawn. The temperatures of the last four days have been the lowest they have been recorded during 2012 and so far in 2013. This will last about 2-3 days.
Meanwhile, each day I am looking skyward hoping to witness monarchs flying overhead as they set off on their spring migration!
Your local reporter,