Posts Tagged ‘tagging Monarchs’

Feliz Cumpleanos! Lucky Boy Ranch Tag Team Hits Monarch Butterfly Motherlode For Monika’s Birthday Weekend

October 17, 2008

It was Monarch Butterflies everywhere, all the time, for Monika’s Monarch birthday weekend this year. After a frustrating 2007 season, 10/13/08 seemed our lucky day with hordes of Monarch butterflies roosting along the Llano River, a full moon, a birthday chrysalis, and back-to-back birthday cakes. Friends and family pitched in to tag 500 Monarch butterflies in just several hours and could easily have exceeded last year’s unmet goal of 1,000. Too bad we ran out of tags!

Our neighbors, the Singletons, tagged 1,200 at their place.

Our crew of Monarch maniacs competed to see who could snag the most in a single swing: Monika started with 15; David quickly surpassed that by netting 26; then Clint came along and outdid us both by nabbing 35 Monarchs in one swoop.

While Nick and Bob cleared cedar and weedwhacked the river path, Jen, Tim, Nancy, Nona, Tristan, Tanner, Oma and Opa all pitched in to net and tag. Cocoa and Sufy helped, too.

Given the high volume of Monarchs, we tried a new strategy this year. After netting them, we stashed them in our nifty butterfly cage and retreated to the porch for communal, assembly line tagging.

Never have we seen them here this thick. David, who once guided tours in Angangueo, Mexico, the special preserve where the Monarch butterflies go home to roost for the winter, described the phenom as “orange snow.” Jen walked the trail and sighed “enchanting.” Clint: “it’s more amazing than I ever imagined.” To get an idea of what it’s like to flush a cluster of Monarch butterflies, watching them float up and scatter like silent tiny quail, check out this 12-second video clip.

You honestly couldn’t walk for five minutes without seeing a Monarch butterfly. One even slurped at our hummingbird feeder. On Wednesday, Hugh and Matt joined us and and Hugh kayaked over to the “monarch spot.” “It’s magic,” he quipped.

And so it was. What a delight to finally share the experience with my dearest friends and family. It was the best birthday present ever.

Gracias a todos for making it so special.

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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.