Getting to Mexico is tough enough, especially for butterflies, but getting there on unbalanced wings is well nigh impossible. I doubt PBB 518 is going to make it, but he seemed to be enjoying the nectar and the sunshine today.
And when you get down to it, today is all any of us have....
Our 1994 Dodge Caravan started today, and since we happened to have our 10 year old kayaks on top of it when it did, we drove a mile to the beach to enjoy this ridiculously beautiful day on the water.
While were out on the bay, a large pod of dolphins came by--four rose in unison so close to Leslie's boat I was sure she'd be dumped. Dolphins are really big animals, and look even bigger when you're sitting in a 16 foot long piece of plastic over a quarter mile off the beach.
I could teach science 23 hours a day for three years and not get close to awe we felt in those short moments.
A science guy commented that you need to note the location of the monarch in order for the tag "to be meaningful"--I took the liberty of posting my reply here:
Dear Ento Mike,
Oh, no worries, the location has been emailed to KU. We know the drill. 1-888-TAGGING.
Even so, the monarch tag is meaningful. It says a lot about humans, about etymologists, about adhesive technologies, about bias in studies (this critter was unusually comfortable around humans).
It made us wonder about energy costs to the butterfly, about balance about mass.
And since we are surrounded by butterflies here this time of year--sometimes seeing hundreds in an hour--finding ol' PBB 518 an hour later tells me that at least one monarch butterfly has a tendency to hang around zinnias for at least an hour, and that the zinnias must be reasonably tasty when its usual sources of food are all over the place here.
(We're talking North Cape May. We got almost as many butterflies as we do mosquitoes this time of year.)
Photo of PBB 518 coming.
Photo of the dolphins was never taken--hard to think when a ton of sea mammals heads towards your boat.