Monhegan Report No. 2: The Other Migration
- Being Human
- Being Outside
- Earth and Sky
- Photography and Optics
- What's This?
On the breath of Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind, migrants blew onto Monhegan Island Tuesday morning. No fallout, but we were busy with some of the place-name warblers: Tennessee, Nashville, Cape May. South winds Wednesday produced a quiet morning. The winds are in our favor this morning. I’m out the door to watch the sun rise and the full moon set.
8:30am – Breaking News: Adult Red-headed Woodpecker flying north over the wharf toward the Monhegan School this morning. Now back to the usual blog post …
Most remarkable now on the island are the dragonflies. They’re here in swarms. Monarchs, normally common here, are scarce, as they are across the Northeast. Ruth and I are up to a paltry nine since Sunday.
Above is one of the Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) flying off White Head. They’re on the island in unprecedented numbers and north of their usual range (I have no clue as to why). Also zooming around are Common Green Darners (Anax junius) – thousands of them. These insects are migrating. And we’re tracking them through the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership. I’m also seeing some of the mosaic darners in the genus Aeshna: Shadow Darner (A. umbrosa) and Black-tipped Darner (A. tuberculifera). Here in very low numbers are both of the Pantala species: Spot-winged Glider (P. hymenaea) and Wandering Glider (P. flavescens).
Also notable on four wings are Mourning Cloaks – tons of them. Well, on Wednesday there were tons. On Thursday, not so many – or so it seemed. We have seen these hearty butterflies at sea on the crossing. Go figure. They do find some tight space andoverwinter as adults, a rare thing for a butterfly.
One oddity now is an immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron around the Monhegan Library; it’s not looking well. More later. Birds are coming …