2018 was an amazing year for Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores (BGOSS) as they tagged 893 Monarchs. To top it off, Monarch Watch, from the University of Kansas, who co-ordinates the tagging program, has just announced that 6 Monarchs from Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores were recovered in Mexico.
The recovered Monarchs were tagged in late August and early September in Southampton at the Saugeen Golf course, Captain Spence Path, Perkins Park and the Saugeen Rail Trail. “This is quite an unexpected surprise,” says Kerry Jarvis, co-founder of BGOSS. “The odds of having one recovery is rare, but to have 6 in one year is quite exciting, especially when you consider that there are millions of Monarchs over wintering in Mexico.” The recovered monarchs were found in 2 of the major reserves in Mexico: El Rosario, and Cerro Pelon and would have travelled a distance of over 4,500 kilometers. Since it began its Community Tagging Days in 2015, BGOSS has tagged over 1,400 Monarchs and has 9 recoveries.
Now, Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores is eagerly waiting for the return of the great-grand children from the fall migrating Monarchs to grace their presence in our community.
Tagging Monarchs is one of the most popular programs led by the Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores (BGOSS). It brings people of all ages together to experience butterflies up close. According to Melitta Smole, BGOSS executive, “2018 marked the fourth year of our tagging program. It was an awesome year! We had a record number of 893 tagged monarchs — 574 males and 319 females.”
Smole attributes the increased numbers to a variety of reasons, including; the healthy mature plants in our butterfly garden pods throughout Saugeen Shores, and more people in our community planting native plants and milkweed.
One monarch, tagged by Carl Raynard on August 25, 2018 in Southampton, was recovered alive in Indianola, Iowa on September 9, — some 15 days later and 2,000 kilometres away. This tagged butterfly was re-released and hopefully has joined the millions of monarchs in Mexico.
In March, the overwintering monarchs will start the second leg of their spring migration to Texas. By the end of May and into early June the first monarch will be spotted in Saugeen Shores. “We are looking forward to another exciting year of monarchs flying in our community and bringing us joy,” says Smole.
Children learned and discovered how and why Monarchs are tagged as part of the Caterpillar Corner program led by Barb, Melitta and Kerry at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre in Southampton. Just look at the expressions on the children’s faces as they release a tagged monarch butterfly. Priceless!
Come out and join Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores on their annual Community Tagging Day on Friday, August 31 from 10:00 am – 12 noon (rain date: Saturday, September 1, 10:00 am – 12 noon). We will start our tagging along the Captain Spence Path in Southampton where we will meet at the Big Flag.
While the ‘Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores’ (BGOSS) is getting ready for the return of the Monarchs, they had some exciting news. They learned that one of their tagged Monarchs was recovered in El Rosario, Mexico.
The Monarch was tagged at the Southampton Golf and Country Club on August 23, 2017 by Stew Nutt and was recovered in Mexico on March 18, 2018. This means that it travelled over 4,500 kilometers. This is a miracle when you think of the size of the butterfly and the fact that it has never been to Mexico before! 208 days elapsed for this female butterfly from the day it was tagged, until the day it was recovered.
This is the second Monarch tag recovery for BGOSS. The first recovery was in 2016. This is quite remarkable as only a limited number of the millions of overwintering Monarchs are tagged. “It is like finding a needle in a hay stack and BGOSS is ecstatic that our community tagging efforts are truly international”, says Melitta Smole, executive member of BGOSS. Tagging Monarchs is one of the most rewarding programs run by Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores (BGOSS). “It provides us with an idea of the numbers of Monarchs in Saugeen Shores and it engages our community with a hands on opportunity to see these lovely butterflies up close,” says Smole.
Over the next few weeks keep your eyes open for the return of the Monarchs to Saugeen Shores. Last year the first recorded Monarch sighting was on May 20. Let BGOSS know when you discover the first Monarch in the area by sending us an email or visiting our web site.
We had a very successful tagging season. Many people who came out to our community tagging events asked us lots of questions. So, we wrote an article on the most commonly asked questions.
Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores hosted several community Monarch tagging days. Read the entire story from the Saugeen Times.
Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores has been alerted to several Monarch roosts in Southampton. Migrating Monarchs will sometimes create roosts in trees where dozens or thousands of them will stay for a day or two. They will typically roost in an area where there is nearby nectaring sources. One roost was documented by cottagers to have about 500 Monarchs! It is really great that residents of Southampton have taken to the Monarchs by planting milkweed and native nectaring plants. The Monarchs are showing us this year that they really appreciate your efforts. For more information on what plants Monarchs love, check out our special gardening section.
Making a difference really begins with the selection of plants we put in our gardens.
Interested in seeing how Monarch butterflies are tagged? Come and join Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores at one of their community tagging days. Learn how and why we tag Monarchs on their epic journey to their overwintering grounds in Mexico.
Monarch butterfly tagging dates and times.
· Meet at the Big Flag (Pod S-6) in Southampton
· Open to all ages
· Great for the whole family
· Bring along your butterfly nets (we have a few available)
· Bring your camera
· Wear sturdy shoes
1) Tuesday, August 29 from 10:00 am – 12 noon (rain date: Wednesday, August 30 10:00 am – 12 noon)
2) Saturday, September 2 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm (rain date: Sunday, September 3 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm)
3) Saturday, September 9 from 10:00 am – 12 noon (rain date: Sunday, September 10 from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon)
Check our web site and Facebook page for updates.
Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores has partnered with the Shoreline Beacon newspaper to showcase a series of articles dealing with Monarchs, native planting, migration, and Monarch tagging. Our second article deals with the Monarchs overwintering sites in Mexico.