Posts Tagged ‘Monika Maeckle’

Monarch Butterflies Skip Lucky Boy, Surge Toward Coast

October 31, 2007

    Houdini hunting at Lucky Boy Ranch                                              

Monarchs totally passed us by last weekend, in what I viewed as the final tagging opportunity in a frustrating, unusual season.   Houdini, pictured above, had more luck with birds than I did with butterflies.

It appears the Monarch butterflies took a more western route and are now flooding the Gulf coastline.  Lucky for those living along the beach.

Didn’t spot a single one at the ranch this weekend.  Lots of pecans, though.  Let’s not talk about the encounter between the Expedition and two separate bucks on our full moon drive out on Friday night.   Our SUV will be in the shop for weeks.

Upon returning home Sunday, one lone Monarch glided around the backyard. 

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Weekend Wishes Come True: Monarch Butterflies at Lucky Boy

October 23, 2007

Monarch on Cedar

As the Grackles biked south against strong headwinds for the MS150, Monarch Butterflies fluttered to Lucky Boy Ranch fighting the same strong gusts.  The good news, as for the Grackles, is they arrived safely…and in big numbers.    

THIS is the Monarch festival I’ve been bragging about all season.  Wouldn’t you know it was the one weekend when I would head to the ranch with only Cocoa and Sufy as my canine tagging team?   Most of my ranch partners were biking to the beach.

Still managed to snag 72 Monarchs in my net, not to mention two I tagged in my own backyard for a weekend talley of 74.  That brings the season total to 144–far from my millenial goal, but I’m not complaining.

It was unusual tagging as Monarchs rested and roosted in the thick cedar along the Llano as winds gusted to 30 miles per hour.  Sufy and Cocoa would run ahead of me, flushing them like quail.  The resilient creatures fought the blowing current, treading air and making them possible–but not easy–to net. 

Hundreds, probably thousands of Monarchs showed up this weekend.   Thrice I had more than five butterflies in my net, and I can’t count how often I swinged and missed.    Multiple Monarchs in the bag feels fantastic, the squirming life of minnows in a bucket.

Next week will be the peak. 

13 Monarch Butterflies and Six Friends MAKE Monika’s Birthday

October 16, 2007

Tagged Monarch Butterfly at Veronica’s                                                                    My weekend-long birthday celebration got off on the right foot–or should I say wing?–when Veronica surprised me with a Monarch Butterfly that had laid its egg on her butterfly weed.  The photo above was taken in her yard.  

Talk about lucky:  Veronica has butterflies still hatching in her yard this late in the season.  What a way to start a birthday weekend.   She, Joseph and I made our way to the ranch and snagged two more before nightfall.

         Tagged Monarch Butterfly

On Saturday, David, Leigh-Anna, Katy and Bob joined the Monarch tag team and while it wasn’t the Monarch monsoon I was anticipating–we fell short of my weekend goal of 51, tagging a Lucky 13–it was a fantastic weekend of kayaking, tagging, great friendship, food and wine. 

Joseph, Leigh Anna and David tagged their first Monarchs and officially caught Butterfly Fever.  Joseph won the Monarch Maniac Award, chasing down the floating flutterers while toting a 12-foot-long PVC pipe “extender” that allowed him to snag them way up high.   David and Leigh Anna witnessed  an osprey diving for a fish in front of the picnic spot–a first.   And Katy made the most fantastic dinner and birthday cake (with help from Veronica) while Bob supplied the bubbly and wine. 

Winds gusted from the south at about 25 mph and the temperatures climbed into the 90s.   We speculated that the Monarchs were waiting out the wind with no incentive to move South.  Why bother?  Warm weather, still some nectar, and plenty of water, so their attitude was decidely “mañana.” 

We’re expecting a strong finish to Monarch season as cold fronts find us.   In the meantime, thanks to my family and friends for indulging my lepidoptomania and making the weekend so special.