WHERE DO ALL THE MONARCHS GO?

After departing the shores of Cape Ann in autumn, where is the Monarch’s next destination on their several thousand mile journey to Mexico? Cape Ann Monarchs join the stream of Monarchs that are migrating southward along the Atlantic Coast. They hug the coastline, crossing bays and ponds, and pausing at beaches to nectar and rest when caught in a headwind or during a storm. When weather and habitat variables combine to create a favorable year for the Monarchs, there may be tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of butterflies traveling along the Atlantic Coast beaches.

The Gooseberry Island old lookout tower is surrounded by dunes and fields of Seaside Goldenrod.The next major stopover is Westport in Massachusetts, at Gooseberry Island and Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sancturary. Here they find dunes and fields of nectar-rich wildflowers such as Frost Asters, Purple-stemmed Asters, Seaside Goldenrod, Knapweed, Red Clover, and more.

Monarchs drinking nectar from Red Clover at Allen’s Pond Middle Meadow

The sanctuary at Allen’s Pond is host to many species of butterflies during the Monarch’s fall migration, including Clouded Sulphurs, Orange Sulphurs, and Painted Ladies.  They, too, drink nectar from the Knapweed, Red Clover, asters, goldenrod, and Black Mustard in the sanctuary fields.

The Atlantic Monarchs next head to New York, traveling along the coast of Long Island, from the eastern tip of Montauk, southwest to Fire Island, and continuing to Coney Island. On the day of October 9th, because of a storm passing through, a batch of migrating Monarchs was “stuck” on Plumb Island in Brooklyn.  After the storm passed the following morning, tens of thousand of Monarchs were observed flying over the dunes and along the beach, resuming their journey south.

Monarchs in the gardens at Battery Park with ferry to the Statue of Liberty in the background. Liv photo and video (below).

Our daughter Liv reports that over the weekend of October 21-22, New York City was teeming with Monarchs. She observed hundreds at Coney Island on Saturday, and even more at the gardens at Battery Park on Sunday. Liv has even seen them in the NYC underground subway stations!

After departing the shores of Long Island and NYC, the next great stopover and roosting area is Cape May, New Jersey. The Monarchs pause along the way, stopping to drink nectar and rest on the barrier beaches of the Jersey Shore. Latest field reports suggest that the dunes and fields of Cape May are rife with Seaside Goldenrod that is still in bloom. I am on my way there today and will report all that I see.

From Cape May Point the Monarchs travel ten miles across the Delaware Bay, then journey along the eastern shores of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Some years the Monarchs converge by the millions at the Virginia National Wildlife Refuge waiting for the right winds to carry them across the Chesapeake Bay.

Some Monarch Butterflies travel to Florida, but most are funneled in through the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, on into Texas and central Mexico.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaIN9gcFtxOrWP27M6OactjFI6UB_VYRPCaaU00/

If you would like to help towards the completion of my documentary film Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly, filmed in the wilds of Cape Ann and Angangueo, Mexico, please consider making a tax deductible donation here:

DONATE HERE

Donors contributing over $5,000. will be listed in the credits as a film producer.

For more information, visit the film’s website here: Monarch Butterfly Film

For an overview of the film’s budget, please go here: Budget

Thank you so very much for your help.

With gratitude,

Kim Smith

Sawyer Free April 8 | John Ronan reads from his first new book of poetry in 8 years, and shares one here for National Poem in Pocket Day April 27, 2017

John Ronan presents Taking the Train of Singularity South From Midtown on Saturday, April 8, 2:00-3:00pm in the Friend Room. It’s Sponsored by the Gloucester Lyceum and Friends of the Sawyer Free Library.

John Ronan a poet, playwright, journalist and a National Endowment for the
Arts Fellow in Literature has done so much in Gloucester! Here’s a throwback article from 1978 about the Gloucester Broadside, a monthly 10 cent one sheet of quality poetry.

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Ronan developed the website resource dedicated to Gloucester poets, Gloucester Poet Laureate, also for Salt and Light: An Anthology of Gloucester Poetry, published spring 2010. He is the host of the Cape Ann TV program, The Writer’s Block.  He was pivotal in establishing the library’s annual Poetry without Paper Contest and poetry columns in the Gloucester Daily Times.

Students are encouraged to submit poems to the Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Public Library’s annual Poetry without Paper contest by April 30th!

April 27 2017 | POEM IN POCKET DAY: It’s free and simple to participate. Carry a Poem. Share a Poem. For more information, search for Poem in Your Pocket Day (PIYP Day) Academy of American Poets (www.poets.org) or New York City’s excellent web site, http://www.NYC.gov/poem. PIYP Day started in NYC in 2002 inspired by the Favorite Poem Project established in 1997 (first events April 1998) by Robert Pinsky, former 3x Poet Laureate of the United States. East Gloucester Elementary School initiated Poem in Pocket Day in 2011 (PTO enrichment).

The Ride of My Life

The signs say sixty

miles an hour, sixty

degree angles, eight

bucks for two minutes,

and Don’t Stand Up!

We pay the eight,

climb in the car.

The Big Guy who draws

down the lap bar

tight as a tourniquet,

says:  “Stash the glasses,

the pen in your pocket.

Stuff flies out.”

Cogs catch.  The cars

quake, start awkwardly

forward as my wife waves,

safe on West 10th

and others stroll Surf,

Coney Island tourists

not thinking about The Cyclone,

or the comic fate that leads

in the first place to Astroland,

no way not to be

in a roller coaster seat

at the top of the first drop and…

Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!

Up plummet of guts

plunging down, fist

full of fear in the heart-

sick final mind:

I am not on a metaphor,

I am going to die.

Followed by a slow coast,

an arc of confident calm,

balm of Brooklyn below and…

Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!

Death drop and keister

clench!  The easy scream!

…and the balm of Brooklyn below.

Ohmygod! horror, and hope…

Ohmygod! horror, and hope…

Slowly, slack in the lickety split.

Speed evens out

and the sine curve dies,

finally flat

in a fan turn to the ramp.

The Big Guy hovers

above the cars, smiling:

“Second ride’s five.”

-John J. Ronan

Cape Ann TV filmed John Ronan reading this poem, The Ride of My Life

I LOVED the Cyclone and I lost my prescription eyeglasses…and a shoe!

harry Shokler Coney island 1943 original color silkscreen.jpg
Harry Shokler 1943 Coney Island original screenprint

John Ronan’s New Book: Taking the Train of Singularity South from Midtown

Taking the Train of Singularity South From Midtown

The Poetry Society of America recently featured  John Ronan’s wonderful civic poetry creed essay January 2017. Book tour events listed http://www.theronan.org/

POET LAUREATE: In Gloucester, MA, the Poet Laureate is dedicated to building community through poetry and encouraging a love of poetry among people of all ages. The honorary post for the City of Gloucester was created in 1998. There have been 4 Poet Laureates: Vincent Ferrini was the City’s first, then John Ronan served from 2008-10, Ruthanne Collinson served 2010-14, and Peter Todd served 2014-15. The Committee for the Arts helps to select a new Poet Laureate.