Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores Monarch Tag Recovery

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.Monarch Tag Recovery Certificate

Monarch Roosts in Southampton

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.

Monarch Butterfly versus Viceroy Butterfly

This image shows the size difference of a Monarch compared to a Viceroy. The tagged Monarch is considerably larger. (approximately 1″) The Viceroy is distinguished by its arching black band on its hind wing. Monarch caterpillars feed  exclusively on milkweeds and Viceroy caterpillars feed on willow and poplar. One birder commented that seeing a Monarch and a Viceroy together is like seeing a Downy Woodpecker and a Hairy Woodpecker. They are somewhat similar, but when viewed together you can really notice the differences in size and in other features.

Young Naturalists Helps Monarch

Six year old Norah came across a female Monarch on a hiking trail and realized that something might be the matter with the butterfly. With the help of Melitta the Monarch was placed on a butterfly flower where it quickly started to feed. Later that day she flew away. It is nice to know that people like Norah are concerned about our environment. Way to go Norah!

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Monarch Caterpillars

Monarch eggs are hatching. This newly emerged Monarch caterpillar is one day old. Its first meal is its egg shell. This is followed by eating a hole in the middle of the milkweed plant. Over the next few weeks this caterpillar will grow over 2,000 times this size feeding exclusively on milkweed leaves. It will undergo 5 molts, known as instars until it reaches full size.

They’re Back!

The first reported Monarch has arrived in Saugeen Shores. Madeline Sanagan, Assistant Natural Heritage Education Leader at MacGregor Point Provincial Park spotted the female  Monarch on Saturday, May 20 at MacGregor Point Provincial Park. The Monarch is nectaring on dandelion. Flowering dandelions are an important early spring nectaring flower for bees, butterflies and other pollinators.  (All the more reason to let dandelions flower and then remove them when they are ready to go to seed.)

MacGregor Point Provincial Park and the Friends of MacGregor are partner groups with Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores. Next time you are at MacGregor Park remember to visit the BGOSS pod which is right beside the Visitors Centre.

Image by: Madeline Sanagan