|Goldenrod and a solitary female in flight near the Pisgah Inn. 10/4/17|
October 4, 2017
The NC Arboretum’s annual Monarch Day is over for this year. I had been invited to set up a table to sell books and talk with people. Along with me was a National Park Service interpretive ranger. I brought a flower arrangement I made with zinnias, goldenrod, and a American beech branch from which I hung three chrysalises to show. I also brought a couple hundred almandine garnets I had collected locally to give away to children. (The garnets happened to be more popular than my book!) The arboretum sold milkweed plants, some having live monarch larvae on them. I thought that was great. I didn’t mention it in the book, but the arboretum has had an ongoing live butterfly display for several months. It’s called Winged Wonders and lasts through October 29. Next year the Monarch Day is set for Saturday, September 8, but as the date nears, check the arboretum’s website to be sure it is still on, because there is some discussion about only holding the event every other year in the future.
The Cradle of Forestry’s monarch event also is past. Next year check their schedule for the time and date. I went this year and learned a lot from the speaker.
Observers reporting for Journey North’s Monarch Peak Migration Map say they’ve seen monarchs this fall at the following locations not given in my book. I’ll be including these southernmost Blue Ridge Parkway places in the 2018 edition. To locate specific overlooks, zoom in and click the splash symbols on the BRP Road Closure Map.
The entrance road to Mt. Mitchell
Hornbuckle Valley OL
Scott Creek OL
Woodfin Valley OL
1 mile south of View Mt. Lyn Lowry
View Mt. Lyn Lowry
Roy Taylor Forest OL
Double Top Mountain OL, (mm 435, 100+ monarchs, 9/29)
Cradle of Forestry OL
One of the most interesting entries is this filed by “Keith.”
Date: 09/29/2017 Location: 35.33, -82.87
Number Sighted: 1000
Comments: Two miles north of the Blue Ridge Parkway, in Pisgah National Forest, 1:00-2:00 pm EDT, partly cloudy, 55°-60°, Monarchs feeding below Tennent Mountain on the Graveyard Ridge Trail between Ivestor Gap and the Mountain-to-Sea Trail.
Below is the report I filed at Journey North. See all the Peak Migration Map reports and the accompanying photographs at: www.learner.org/jnorth/monarchs
Number Sighted: 95
Comments: On Saturday, August 30, we drove between the Mills Gap Overlook and the Caney Fork Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway and didn’t see but two monarchs in five hours. On Sunday the following day we counted 95 in the two hours between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm at the Cherry Cove View, milepost 415.7. Most didn’t stop to feed. Plenty more came over afterwards in that location until it got colder at about 6:00 pm. I drove up and down on the parkway, but didn’t see any monarchs at any other places and times. The weather was mostly clear to partly cloudy. A light breeze drifted from the north. The temperature midday was about 70 degrees F. Cherry Gap is where the National Park Service placed a monarch migration informational plaque. A dozen or more monarch watchers gathered there throughout the afternoon, including Jennifer who had lost a newborn son 20 years ago to the day. She had come to release a butterfly helium balloon at sunset in his memory, and she found support and fellowship in the company of other monarch lovers who she had just met. That morning a female monarch had eclosed at my home and I gave it to her to release.