Sighting for January 30, 2017

Jim Egbert

Roscoe Rd Orange Beach,and Ft Morgan Historic Site
Baldwin County, AL

Wind southwesterly
Winds 10 - 15mph
Temps. Mid 30s. - low 60s

Three year ago after a rare snow and ice even ,the small winter Monarch population could have been wiped out;but they didn’t appear to have been affected.I followed this population over the next few weeks;then they were gone .
What changed?The weather returned to normal , spring flowers had started showing,making food much more available;but they were gone.The survey was personal difficult because of my allergy to pine pollen;the pollen is so thick at times it looks like a yellow fog,coat everything.
Last year at the end of Febuary;the same third week as the year before the winter Monarchs where gone .The winter was cooler on average , wild flowers had not started show yet,but the pines were putting out their clouds of yellow,and the Monarchs were gone .Then it occurred to me maybe I was not the only one that had a problem with pine pollen.
This year the winter Monarchs population was larger than usual;they were dripping off the the threes.The weather has been much warmer this winter,and the pines started putting on the pollen producing cones very early.The Monarch population had remained thick through the season;until this week.The pine pollen came a full month earlier and was as thick as my sinuses,and as in the past three winter seasons the winter Monarchs are now gone;with the exception of 4 Monarchs at Ft Morgan on this day.
This is a simple observation of the small winter population we have here on the Ft Morgan peninsula,and what appears to be their trigger to depart,they will be followed for additional data points to add to these three to see if the hypothesis holds up.

  • Orange Sulphur 3
  • Cloudless Sulphur 6
  • Gray Hairstreak 1
  • American Lady 2
  • Red Admiral 1
  • Common Buckeye common
  • Monarch 5
  • Common Checkered-Skipper 5