A rivulet of Monarchs passed over near Utopia today from 6 to 7 p.m.,
just ahead of the cold front. I'm a couple miles south of town at
edge of the river corridor habitat. Earlier around 4-5:00 p.m. a
dozen Gulf Frits blasted past south to southwest bound. I don't know
if the Monarchs started earlier than 6, I was in the office, but at
6 p.m. when I went out there was a good flow, so likely it had begun
earlier, though there was no sign of it at 5:00 lookabout.
Besides right overhead, I could see them a quarter mile or so in either direction from my place, most were in the 50-500' AGL altitude range. Ten at once in the binoc field of view was regular. I saw a total of about 500 Monarch from 6 p.m. to 6:30 when I went in for dinner. At 7 p.m. a few were
still going over, and a few were looking for roost sites in the pecans
and hackberries around yard.
The most amazing thing though was about 50' AGL moving S-SW with them
was a female Black Swallowtail beating tracks. I got it in binocs
as it went right overhead and saw the double row of red dots on VHW
quite well. I was unable however to determine if it was in reproductive
diapause, my x-ray bins are on the fritz and in the shop...... Surely it is my personal AGL altitude record for P. polyxenes. I don't think I've seen one 12' off the ground before. I'd had another female earlier in the day nectaring on the Purple Mist Eupatorium. Have not thought of them as migratory.
A number of Green Darner dragonfly were also moving, some Red Saddlebags
and Wandering Glider, and a few small groups of Sandhill Crane.
Might be some movement tomorrow behind the front? Keep your eyes
on the skies.
Courtesy of TX-BUTTERFLY
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