The Importance of Water
Field Notes from Mexico from Dr. Bill Calvert

February 23 , 2006

Listen to Dr. Calvert 

As Good as it Gets
Today is 23rd of February. We are a group of nature freaks from New Jersey and a group of school teachers from Georgia. Tuesday we divided and visited both El Rosario and Pelon.
The experience was as good as it gets.

Thristy Butterflies Flying for Water
Clear, dry weather stimulated the butterflies to move out of their colonies in search for water. The Rosario colony itself was HUGE, estimated by locals to between 6 and 5 hectares in area. For the first time in many years they cooperated fully, forming the colony within the area bounded by the stairs and the well-worn trails. There was much mating of the small-male, large-female type.

Better Than it Gets
Pelon was better than it gets. As we approached Macheros in our bus—the jump-off point where we mounted horses--a river of monarchs streaming down from the mountains greeted us. The river stayed with us two thirds of the way up the mountainside. We and our horses treaded through this sea of butterflies most of the way to the colony.

A Chore for Them, A Delight for Us
What accounts for this? It rained about two weeks ago. The ambient has been drying ever since. The thirsty butterflies have no dew on the mountainsides to drink and must descend the entire mountain to find water. An enormous chore for them, a total delight for us.