Saturday, September 25, 2021

Birds and Butterflies at Cape May Point #monarchbutterfly

Viceroy Butterfly
Monarch or Viceroy?

As you know from my previous post, Fall Monarch butterfly migration is now underway. We predict that our newborn NJ Monarch is on the way to Cape May! We followed her lead to Cape May Point yesterday for a day trip, hoping to see lots of Monarchs. Cape May Point also happens to be one of the most popular sites for bird watching in North America. Since it is a major migratory route, we met birders from all over, including Ohio and Lancaster.

The Cape May State Park hiking trails were scenic, easy to walk; the day was picture perfect too. Yellow goldenrod was blooming throughout. Unfortunately, we didn't see very many Monarch butterflies. We did see Viceroy butterflies, which look very similar to Monarchs.

Viceroy butterflies have the exact same color as a Monarch: orange, black and white. To tell them apart, note the horizontal line on the bottom wings of the Viceroy (see above photo). Monarchs do not have that (see below photo). Another difference is that Viceroys are smaller in size. Viceroys also don't migrate.

Monarch butterfly on Zinnia

At the end of the day, we stopped by a residential property in a final effort to see a few Monarchs. We got the tip from a birder on one of the trails. The location was a residential home with a lovely front yard corner garden that featured colorful zinnias, cosmos and tall, orange Tithonia (Mexican sunflowers). 

Others gathered around too, all of us with our cameras shooting butterflies as if we've never seen a Monarch before! So fun though. Butterflies were all over. We heard that there were even more sightings in the morning.

And, special thanks to the good Samaritan videographer who gave us a ride to our car after we got lost coming off the trail. 

Mute Swans at Cape May Point

At the end of the trail we reached the dunes along the Delaware Bay and passed a beautiful pond with ducks, cranes and swans. Then we found ourselves at Cape May Point Lighthouse! The parking lots there were not the small parking lot off Seagrove Ave that our GPS took us to when we first arrived.

Happy Monarch Watching!

Related Links

Monarch or Viceroy?

Photos and blog post Copyright(C) Wind. All rights reserved.

No comments: