Surprise at the Sanctuary
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
I have just been to El Rosario Sanctuary this morning-noon time and it has been a great surprise.
Where last Wednesday, March 28, I had counted around 12 trees very dense with monarchs, today, the population has doubled its density to around 30 trees!
There are clusters of all sizes - huge, medium, small and tiny - all hanging from the rather mid to low height at each Oyamel tree. Incredibly, this fantastic density is all within an area of perhaps 600-800 square meters.
The colony is still in Llano Cruzado (east, northeast from Llano de los Conejos). My estimate perfectly matches that of guides at the Sanctuary. The biggest clusters are just along the main trail and little clearing as one enters the forest area just some meters rightwards from the main walking road. The rest of the colony is distributed inside the little forest from tree to tree as appreciated in the photos.
Mating is still active. Many, many Monarchs can be observed dead on the ground as well as others shivering and a rest mating or simply “jumping” here and there.
This is something really exceptional, both for the fact itself and for the date it is happening.
Our weather had been quite cool for about 5 days, with clouds and a bit of rain in our mountains, so maybe it was too cool to leave? Now temperatures seem likely to go on a continuous rise again, so maybe the monarchs will finally leave.
What does this all mean? A colony hidden somewhere in the region joining this one in Rosario? That is what guides mostly believe. They told me that officials from the Reserve office in Zitácuaro were there yesterday (April 2), so they should be maybe doing their own official and professional estimations.
“The only explanation we can find is that maybe another colony from somewhere in the state of México… or from somewhere else… could have joined the one here, due to the altitude, to cooler temperatures. How to know? That is the only explanation we can imagine of, Estela. We should wait until experts on the matter can speak on some probabilities on this very unusual phenomenon not seen before.”
El Rosario Sanctuary did not officially close last Sunday, April 1, as it was supposed to. They have now been authorized to remain open until at least next weekend (April 7/8), since the population is something which should be kept open for all visitors and experts curious to come and contemplate the exceptional picture.
Here we should all continue staring speechless at each other at this unexpected manifestation of our wonderful Monarch Butterflies!
Angangueo, Michoacán, México