Butterfly activists encouraged by winter clusters.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The good news: Butterfly numbers in Pacific Grove’s Monarch Grove Sanctuary appear to be up from last year’s dismal low. With the annual "Thanksgiving Count" approaching, the monarch overwintering site already appears much thicker with the delicate winged creatures than it was in the 2009-10 season.
The bad news: Activists say the city is still bungling management of the potted trees brought in to mitigate damage from last year’s heavy pruning.
Butterfly booster Bob Pacelli reports that several potted oak trees were lying on the ground when he visited the sanctuary Nov. 19. "The monarchs were all over the grass hanging on for dear life," he wrote in an email.
But, he adds, "there must have been over 1,000 on the small potted eucs. Talk about no room at the Inn."
UPDATE 11/29: The "Thanksgiving Count" numbers, which the Xerces Society provides as a "snapshot of overwintering monarch numbers in California," are in.
The Monterey County monarch numbers, which volunteers counted Nov. 23-24, are up from last year's counts in the Monarch Grove Sanctuary, Andrew Molera State Park and a private property in Big Sur, but slightly down at Point Lobos.
Erica Krygsman and volunteers counted almost 5,000 butterflies in the Sanctuary, according to Monarch Alert Coordinator Jessica Griffiths. Last year's count was less than 1,000, the lowest in almost 10 years of counting.