The migrating monarchs have made their way to my neck of the woods and I have seen them fluttering all over town and even in my hanging out in my backyard. But my favorite place to watch these magical little creatures at the Gathering Place.
They hang out at the north end of the park, near Peggy’s Pond, where the milkweed grows along the edges of the smaller ponds nearby. But instead of laying eggs, the monarchs are nectaring on the flowers, refueling for the next leg of their long journey.
One of the monarchs I saw that evening had been tagged!! Something I’ve heard about, but never seen firsthand.
The Monarch Watch Tagging Program is a large-scale community science project that was initiated in 1992 to help understand the dynamics of the monarch’s spectacular fall migration through mark and recapture. Every fall, this organization distributes more than a quarter of a million tags to volunteers across North America. These “community scientists” capture monarchs throughout the migration season, record the tag code, tag date, gender of the butterfly, and geographic location then tag and release them. At the end of the tagging season, these data are submitted to Monarch Watch and added to their database to be used in research.
I spent probably an hour at the park that evening. And of course I took some photos. But I also took the opportunity to simply sit and observe and take in the magic of being surrounded by hundreds of monarch butterflies.
I hope these wonder-full little creatures make you as happy as they did me. ?
PS. Need a little more monarch magic in your life? Here are some of my favorite post about these delightful little wonders of nature.