This post comes to you from the incredibly beautiful courtyard of the Hotel Morillo in Coahuila, Mexico. http://www.elmorillo.com.mx
We are relaxing after days of pushing to get into Mexico and meeting up with a Monarch Monitoring conference in Saltillo. As we bask in the sunshine we are watching a steady trickle of monarchs passing through. The hotel is situated along an arroyo that we believe may be the reason for the steady flow.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
We got up early Tuesday morning to join the Monarch Monitoring conference happening in Saltillo, Coahuila (Mexico). About 40 people from Mexico, Canada and the US, were gathered for a workshop with the goal of engaging more individuals in monarch monitoring programs such as Project MonarchHealth http://www..monarcharasites.org , Monarch Watch http://www.monarchwatch.com , the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project http://www.mlmp.org , Journey North http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/index.html and Correo Real. By working together, sharing data and involving people throughout monarchs’ migratory range, they are hoping to learn even more about monarchs. Increased monitoring is one of the recommendations of the North American Monarch Conservation Plan.
We arrived at the Fiesta Motel in Saltillo in time to have breakfast with the people attending the workshop.
We followed the workshop’s bus, learning Mexican driving style all the way, through the streets of Saltilo to a botanical garden, Parque el Chapulin. A naturalist took us on a tour. There were monarchs flitting about and we could see some sunning themselves high in the trees getting ready to take off for the day. The bulk of the migration has already passed through this area. We saw just 3-6 monarchs together. We were late enough in the morning that we didn’t see any clusters.
Next we went up into the mountains south east of Saltillo to the Natural Protected Area Sierra Zapaliname. State naturalists gave a presentation on the ecosystem. The nature of the migration through their area and the 5 species of milkweed found on that area. After the presentation, a monarch release and a demonstration on how to check monarchs for OE infestation, the group took a hike to see the ecosystem.
We opted out of the hike and instead took a tour around the adjacent Ejido Chapultepec. (Nahutl for Grasshopper Hill).
On the way back to Saltillo we stopped to watch a group of Matachines dancers dancing in a Shrine to Nuestro Senior (Jesus) that was located next to the highway to bless truckers on their way to Zacatecas.