Our first report (spring and summer 2018) has just been published. Find out the results of the anuran (frogs and toads), common loon, and monarch butterfly surveys, as well as the results of the periwinkle removal outing, by reading about them here:
This year has seen our first monarch tagging activity. It started off great with a monarch flying right into the parking lot, just after we finished the explanations (while the Coordinator [yours truly] was storing the excess equipment!). The entire team was able to participate in catching and tagging this butterfly. This lucky encounter somewhat set aside the doubts we had because of the temperature and wind and it is with higher confidence that we set out toward the fields.
In the end, we caught a grand total of one monarch.
. . .
To paraphrase one of the participants, at least we can say that we tagged 100% of the monarchs we caught! :-) (And the results are 100% better than they would have been on the original [rainy] date.)
We also spent a beautiful afternoon in nature, having fun with like-minded individuals, in the magnificent landscape of the Meech Creek Valley. Moreover, we came across a yellow garden spider (argiope aurantia), a fairly common, but visually striking, species of spider, and one that I had never before seen in person (something I was very much hoping would happen eventually).
While the monarch’s migrations are fairly well known, tagging programs continue to reveal important information about them. According to Monarch Watch, their program (to which we contribute with this activity) yields information about the origin of the monarchs that reach Mexico, the timing and duration of their migration, their mortality rate, and changes in the geographic distribution. Hence, these programs help us better understand this phenomena and the factors affecting success. They are also a great example of large scale citizen science and its contributions to regular science.
On Saturday, July 27, the Program participants surveyed the population of monarch butterflies close to the P3 parking lot (Gamelin and the Gatineau Parkway). Thanks to dedicated work, we inspected almost 1600 milkweed plants on which we observed 23 eggs, 6 caterpillars and 2 adults. This survey effort fits within Mission Monarch, which is run, in Eastern Canada, by the Montréal Insectarium. Its purpose is to collect information and protect the species.
Text, photos, and above video by Marina Torreblanca (translation by Simon Landry)
This is what fun work looks like: exploring a beautiful lake in search of common loons.
On Sunday, May 26, participants from the Program met at LaPêche Lake to find out how many loons were using it. To make the task easier (it's a big lake!) we split it in sections so each team could explore part of the lake, then we set off in search of our subject.
How many did we spot?: 14
The day was full of fun, physical activity, and sun, and we are looking forward to the next one, in July.
Note: you may have heard that there is only ever one loon couple per lake. In reality, this is true for smaller lakes, but, in large lakes, several couples can live in separate territories, with some common areas.
... and for those who have never seen water lily roots:
Photos: Marina Torreblanca
On March 27 we held an information session about the upcoming spring, summer and fall season of the program’s 2019 edition. We have a good group again this year, for a season that is shaping up to be interesting. We will continue the surveys started last year for the frogs and toads, the common loon, and the monarch, as well as the periwinkle removal activity. We will also add a tagging component to the monarch survey.
We are already looking forward to comparing this season’s results against last year’s.
The 2018 report will be made publicly available soon.