Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Monarch butterflies clustered along the Llano River this weekend, clinging to pecan tree branches as strong winds from the south kept them in place, temporarily halting their journey south toward Mexico and making easy work for Monarch taggers.
Monarch butterflies along the Llano River fought the wind this weekend as the migration kicked into high gear. Photo by Monika Maeckle
On Friday, winds shifted temporarily, blowing out of the north. Temperatures dropped 40 degrees–from 93 to 53. The shift blew in a fresh crop of the migrating creatures. Then early Saturday morning a dramatic thunderstorm dumped 1 – 4 inches of rain in the Texas Hill Country, knocking out electrical power and bringing heavy cloud cover that kept the butterflies once again in place for the day.
Tuf Singleton enjoys his first Monarch butterfly tagging outing with his Aunt Peggy Turlington in Hext, Texas. Photo by Jenny Singleton
“Last night was great,” Jenny Singleton texted regarding Friday night. Singleton, our friend and fellow Monarch butterfly enthusiast, first introduced me to Monarch butterflies back in 2004 when she invited me to her Texas Hill Country ranch to “tag some Monarch butterflies” along with a group of her friends and family.
The tradition continues today during peak migration each year. I’ve borrowed the practice as well, inviting friends and family to celebrate my October 13 birthday at the ranch, tagging butterflies along the Llano. I’m lucky my birthday falls right in the middle of peak migration season, which this year runs October 10-22 for our latitude.