Category Archives: gloucester

$20,450.00!!! RAISED FOR “BEAUTY ON THE WING” DOCUMENTARY! THANK YOU KIND DONORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WITH THE GREATEST JOY AND APPRECIATION FOR OUR COMMUNITY OF FRIENDS AND SPONSORS, I AM OVERJOYED TO SHARE THAT TO DATE WE HAVE RAISED $20,450.00 FOR THE DOCUMENTARY FILM “BEAUTY ON THE WING” ONLINE FUNDRAISER!!!

MY DEEPEST THANKS AND GRATITUDE TO LAUREN MERCADANTE (PRODUCER), SUSAN FREY (PRODUCER), NEW ENGLAND BIOLABS FOUNDATION, LAUREN M., MARION F., ELAINE M., DONNA STOMAN, PEGGY O’MALLEY, JOEY C., CATHERINE RYAN, JOEANN HART, JANE PAZNIK BONDARIN AND ROBERT REDIS (BOTH FROM NEW YORK), NUBAR ALEXANIAN, PETER VAN DEMARK, PATRICIA VAN DERPOOL, FRED FREDERICKS (CHELMSFORD), LESLIE HEFFRON, JIM MASCIARELLI, DAVE MOORE (KOREA), LILIAN AND CRAIG OLMSTEAD, JOHN STEIGER, PAT DALPIAZ, AMY KERR, BARBARA T. (JEWETT, NY), ROBERTA C. ((NY), MARIANNE G. (WINDHAM, NY), PAULA O’BRIEN (WALTON, NY), TOM HAUCK, AND ANONYMOUS PERSONS FOR THEIR GENEROUS HELP.

 

I would like to also give an extra shout out and thanks to Joey for graciously and generously supporting “Beauty on the Wing” documentary film project from the very beginning, and in many ways, including milkweed and aster plant and seed sales held at Captain Joe and Sons along with the tremendous opportunity to share information, photos, and films about the splendid Monarchs on the inimitable community platform, which he created, and that is Good Morning Gloucester. 

We are approximately one third towards the online fundraising goal of $62,000.00. 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

Monarch Silhouettes at Twilight 

WHITE-TAILED DEER: A COAT OF MANY FUNCTIONS

You never know what beautiful creatures you may be fortunate enough to encounter when chasing winged creatures.

White-tailed Deer grow a second thicker coat of fur for protection against the cold during fall, and shed that second coat during spring.The reddish color will give way to grayish brown hairs at the onset of colder weather, providing better camouflage as well. Deer can increase the insulative value of their fur by puffing out their hair. These are probably nursing does because they keep their reddish color longer than bucks and does that have weaned their fawns.

THE LATE GREAT MONARCH MIGRATION CONTINUES AND THANK YOU KIND DONORS FOR CONTRIBUTING TO “BEAUTY ON THE WING” $5,300.00 RAISED TO DATE!!!

WITH THANKS AND GRATITUDE FOR THE KIND GENEROSITY OF OUR COMMUNITY, TO DATE WE HAVE RAISED OVER $5,300.00 FOR MY DOCUMENTARY FILM “BEAUTY ON THE WING: LIFE STORY OF THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY” ONLINE FUNDRAISER!!! MY DEEPEST APPRECIATION TO NEW ENGLAND BIOLABS FOUNDATION, LAUREN M., MARION F., ELAINE M., DONNA STOMAN, PEGGY O’MALLEY, JOEY C., CATHERINE RYAN, JOEANN HART, JANE PAZNIK BONDARIN AND ROBERT REDIS (BOTH FROM NEW YORK), NUBAR ALEXANIAN, PETER VAN DEMARK, PATRICIA VAN DERPOOL, FRED FREDERICKS (CHELMSFORD), LESLIE HEFFRON, JIM MASCIARELLI, DAVE MOORE (KOREA), LILIAN AND CRAIG OLMSTEAD, JOHN STEIGER, PAT DALPIAZ, AMY KERR, BARBARA T. (JEWETT, NY), ROBERTA C. ((NY), MARIANNE G. (WINDHAM, NY), TOM HAUCK, AND ANONYMOUS PERSONS FOR THEIR GENEROUS HELP.

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

 *   *   *

The Monarchs migrating through our region, although higher in number than in recent years, are also later than usual. The greater numbers are attributed to the tremendous amount of eggs and caterpillars reported this summer and, too, the beautiful warm weather we are enjoying has allowed eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalides to mature. In a typical year, the onset of colder autumn temperatures would have halted the larvae’s development. Hopefully, the Monarchs will arrive to the sanctuaries in Mexico before the cold puts the kibosh on this late migration.

Another problem facing the Monarchs is that most flowers have cycled through their bloom power. The butterflies will be challenged to find nectar producing flora to fortify them on the journey south. This type of ecological mismatch is increasing and very negatively affects wildlife species worldwide.

Today, October 19, there were about two dozen Monarchs at Eastern Point. The only wild plants in bloom at the Point are Purple-stemmed Asters and dandelions. As the effects of global climate change pose increasing threat to wildlife, we can help the migrating butterflies, and all pollinators, by planting nectar-rich flora that blooms in succession from April through November. These actions will help mitigate some of the mismatching happening right now.

Monarchs and Purple-stemmed AstersOne sleepy little Monarch in the trees this morning at daybreak.

 Monarch Flakes -2  Eastern Point Lighthouse  

Cheryl Arena Tonight! Dave Sag’s Blues Party @ The Rhumb line 8:309m 10.19.2017

 

First, a shout out for Skip Hart, everybody’s favorite music fan. Got so used to seeing him every Thursday. Always an incisive comment and a double-dare to “go look it up”. I’m sorely going to miss him trundling through the door every week and throwing my own weight back in my face! RIP, Skip, we’ll all miss you.

And if you’re not tired of me yet, come wail with Ms. Cheryl Arena this Thursday at the Rhumb Line, where men are men and…well, skip it. Ms. C is a huge draw around here and I’m looking forward to stub my toe on her gargantuan amplifier.

She sings, she plays a divine harmonica and she’s bringing my favorite buffalo Bill lookalike: Mr. Pete Henderson to play quick draw guitar. Also on the bill is Mr. Forrest “Frosty”  Padgett, who just had surgery to remove a hip bone connected to the thigh bone. Once I stop laughing and sneezing, it’s gonna be just like fun!

40 Railroad Avenue
Gloucester, MA 01930
(978) 283-9732

http://www.therhumbline.com/

MORGAN FAULDS PIKE EXHIBITING AT THE CRANE ESTATE SHOW AND SALE!

Our fabulous Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives sculptor Morgan Pike writes,
Dear Friends,
You are cordially invited to the annual Crane Estate Show and Sale. I will have three pieces in the show, “Aurora,” “Poseidon,” and “Parthenon Horse.” The poster is attached below. Here is a Facebook link for information:  http://bit.ly/2hS1Wxj
Here the link to reserve a ticket for the Soirée/Preview on Friday 3 Novemberhttp://bit.ly/2xlbiZl
They did say that the Soirée usually sells out! And, of course, if you are not inclined to donate and party, the show is open Saturday and Sunday for free.
I hope to see you there!
Morgan

MILES FOR MEATBALLS WITH CHEF ANTHONY CATURANO, MAYOR SEFATIA, AND WARREN WAUGH AUTOS!

Generous donors rally for breast cancer awareness.

In honor of breast cancer awareness month, Miles for Meatballs today raised a whopping $4,700.00 for breast cancer!!! The event was hosted by Mayor Sefatia, Tonno’s Chef Anthony Caturano, and Warren Waugh of Lyon-Waugh Auto Group. The Miles for Meatballs event began with a scenic tour around Cape Ann in luxury cars from the very generous Warren Waugh. The drive was followed by a fabulous late afternoon dinner at Tonno. Chef Anthony prepared his famous homemade meatballs and sausage with zugu/gravy, served over the creamiest polenta you can imagine. The homestyle, yet elegant dinner was accompanied by an outstanding Caesar salad and delicious cannolis. Every Sunday Chef Anthony serves a traditional meatball and zugu/gravy Sunday family dinner and I know where we will be having dinner next Sunday!

 

 

 

GHS GIRLS SOCCER FUNDRAISER AT TONNO!

Thanks to Eve Parisi for sharing the Tonno-GHS fundraiser information. What a great way to spend an evening, supporting the GHS girls soccer team by having dinner at Tonno. The complete menu will be made available, and some yummy specials, too. Reservations are recommended.

LOOK WHAT PATTI PAPOWS MADE FOR SUNDAY’S MILKWEED SEED DISTRIBUTION EVENT!!

Thank you to Patti Papows for putting together these utterly charming pouches of milkweed seeds for our event tomorrow. We also have loads of milkweed pods and Joe-Pye seeds to distribute so come on down to Captain Joe’s dock Sunday morning from 10:30 to noon. We hope to see you there!Captain Joes is located at 95 East Main Street, Gloucester.

To donate toward the completion of my documentary film Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly, please visit the film’s website at www.monarchbutterflyfilm.com

Crazy good shows this weekend @ Katrina’s Fri The 13th w/ Muddy Ruckus & Sat – Julie Rhodes Band w/ Ian Fitzgerald & Something Else opening

http://www.muddyruckus.com/

&

 

http://www.julierhodesmusic.com/

 

*reservations strongly suggested for these shows.  (978) 515-7817

 

14 Rogers Street

Gloucester, MA

https://www.facebook.com/katrinasgloucester/

 

WHEN A WEED IS NOT A WEED and Why Joe-Pye is So Darn Lovable!

A bodacious beauty possessing the toughest of traits, Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium) is the stalwart star of the eastern native plants garden. Large, airy dome-shaped flowerheads blooming in a range of shades from pink to lavender to purple provide food, by way of nectar, foliage, and seed heads to myriad species of bees, butterflies, and songbirds. Beginning in mid-July and continuing through mid-October, pollinators on the wing can find sustenance in a garden planted with Little Joes and Big Joes.

Joe Pye, the person, is thought to have been a North Carolina Native American medicine man who used these wildflowers to cure many ailments, including typhoid fever. The plants became know as Joe Pye’s weed.

A name changer from weed to wildflower would be a game changer for numerous species of native plants. Why do so many native wildflowers have the suffix weed? Because when the colonists arrived from Europe, they wanted their crops, as well as European cultivated flowers, to grow in their new gardens. Anything native that interfered with their plans was deemed a “weed.” Examples of beautiful and invaluable North American native pollinator plants with the name given weed are milkweed (Asclepias), sneezeweed (Helenium), ironweed (Veronia), and jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).

Three favorite and fabulous species for the New England landscape are Eutrochium purpureum, E. maculatum, and E. dubium. Joe-pye grows beautifully in average to moist soil, in full sun to light shade. Plant Joe-pye in the back of the border. E.purpurem grows five to seven feet tall, while Little Joe grows three to five feet. With their beautiful blossoms, robust habit, winter hardiness, and disease resistance, these long blooming members of the sunflower family are treasured for their ability to attract an array of butterflies, bees, and songbirds to the garden during the mid- to late-summer season.

Just look at this sampling of the different species of Lepidoptera finding noursihment from the blossoms of Joe-pye!

Tiger Swallowtail

Painted Lady

Black Swallowtail

Monarch

Joe-Pye does especially well in a coastal native plants garden.

 

If you enjoyed reading this post, I hope you will consider donating to the completion of my documentary film Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly. Every contribution is tremendously appreciated. For more information on how you can help, please visit the film’s website at www.monarchbutterflyfilm.com

 

 

 

Wednesdays at The Rhumb Line ~ Allen Estes hosts the evening with his special guests: Julie Dougherty & Woody Woodward 7-10pm 10.11.2017

 

Dinner Specials Each Week!
Wednesday, October 11th – 7pm
Your Guest Host: ALLEN ESTES!

Allen Estes covers for me this week at the Rhumb with his
all-around world-class musicianship and vast arsenal of
moving original material. His guests? Julie Dougherty and
Woody!

Such a great night it will be! ~ Fly
Dinner with great music!
*Each week features a special, invited musical guest
The Rhumb Line Kitchen……now features Janet Brown with some new and healthy ideas!
Plus a fine, affordable wine menu!
Next week…
10/18 – JB & DB

Visit: http://www.therhumbline.com/
Looking forward……to seeing you there 🙂

“TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD” TRIUMPHS AT GLOUCESTER STAGE COMPANY!

Photo left to right – Scout: Carly Williams, Atticus Finch: Lewis D. Wheeler, Jem: Nathaniel Oaks & Dill: Gabriel Magee

To Kill a Mockingbird Triumphs at Gloucester Stage Company

By Tom Hauck

The Gloucester Stage Company is renowned for introducing important new plays to New England and often the world. In To Kill a Mockingbird, the company proves it has the same magic touch with a story that since its publication in 1960 has become an American classic. The stage version, written by Christopher Sergel, made its debut in 1990, and won the Pulitzer Prize.

The GSC production of To Kill a Mockingbird is nothing less than a magnificent shooting star streaking across the heavens and with only a month of performances, you must see this masterful interpretation before it vanishes into the night. Every aspect of the production, directed by Boston stage legend Judy Braha, is exceptional. Led by GSC veterans Amanda Collins as the grown-up Scout and Lewis D. Wheeler as Atticus Finch, with Aaron Dowdy as Tom Robinson and Cheryl D. Singleton as Calpurnia, Carly Williams (Scout), Nathaniel Oaks (Jem), and Gabriel Magee (Dill) as the children, the cast is pitch-perfect throughout. They’re supported by an evocative and flexible set designed by Jon Savage and sublime lighting by John Malinowski. The lighting, in particular, effectively sets the mood for each scene, whether it’s the ramshackle courthouse interior or the deep and mysterious woods on Halloween night.

This is a great story masterfully interpreted by an outstanding company. To Kill a Mockingbird  deeply touches our hearts and connect us with the humanity of each of the characters. The GSC production is outstanding on every level, and it is my guess that during the final scene when Boo Radley makes his appearance, you will be among the many people in the audience who feel tears gathering in their eyes.

To Kill a Mockingbird is onstage now through October 28. For schedules and ticket information, visit www.gloucesterstage.com or call 978-281-4433. A smash hit, get your tickets today!

All Photos Courtesy Gloucester Stage Company By Gary NG

 

Scout: Carly Williams & Jean Louise Finch: Amanda Collins

 

SUPER FUN COMMUNITY MILKWEED SEED POD PROJECT FOR THE POLLINATORS!

Monarchs Mating in a Milkweed Patch, Good Harbor Beach Dunes

Recently, Good Morning Gloucester reader John Steiger gave me a large bag filled with ripe milkweed seed pods collected from his garden. I had a total blast throwing the seed pods around on my early morning walk, tossing alongside the road where ever I thought milkweed might have a chance to take hold (which is easy as milkweed even takes root in sidewalk cracks).

I’d like to do more of this and Joe had the great idea to ask folks to make it a community project as we did several years ago with the milkweed and New England aster seeds and plant sales. He has again very generously offered the dock on Sunday morning after the podcast, between 10:30 and noon. If you have ripe milkweed seed pods in your garden, please bring them Sunday morning. Anyone who wants to distribute the seeds, stop by the dock and we’ll arm you with seed pods. I’ll also be collecting Joe-pye, goldenrod, and aster seeds later this fall when these wildflowers go to seed. If we get more folks dropping off bags of pods than wanting to distribute, that will be okay. I know tons more places that need milkweed and I will be happy to do the distributing. These are areas that probably at one time had milkweed and other wildflowers growing there, but they have been mowed over or taken over by bittersweet and phragmites. As people are learning more about the importance of wildflowers and pollinators, I am hoping the wildflowers will have a better chance of becoming reestablished.

Female Monarch Depositing Eggs on the Undersides of Milkweed Leaves

MILKWEED SEED COLLECTION AND DISTRIBUTION PROJECT SUNDAY OCTOBER 15TH

Collect ripe milkweed seed pods (only Common Milkweed and Marsh Milkweed please). Place in a paper bag, not plastic, as plastic can cause the seed pods to become damp.

Bring seedpods to Captain Joe and Sons on Sunday morning between 10:30 and noon. Captain Joes is located at 95 East Main Street, East Gloucester.

If you’d like to distribute seeds, meet at the dock between 10:30 and noon and I will show you what to do.

NOTE: It is easy to tell when milkweed seedpods are ripe. The seeds inside turn brown. Do not collect the pods when the seeds are white or green. If you pick them too soon, they will never be viable. You can check the seed pods by slitting the pod a tiny bit and peeking inside.

Any questions, please comment in the comment section or email me at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com. Thank you and I hope to see you Sunday morning!

Milkweed is not only the Monarch caterpillar’s food plant, the florets are a very important source of nectar for myriad species of pollinators.

To learn more about how you can help fund the documentary Beauty on the Wing and the Monarch Butterfly Film Online Fundraising, please visit the film’s website at monarchbutterflyfilm.com.

 

TOM HALSTED OBITUARY

Sending our heartfelt condolences to the Halsted Family on the passing of Tom, the kindest gentleman and one of Gloucester’s brightest stars. 

Thomas A Halsted, Tom, to all who knew and loved him, sailed out on the morning tide for the last time, on October 7, 2017, one day before his 84th birthday. Born on October 8th, 1933, he died of cancer. Now he is having a new adventure, sailing into the unknown.

Tom was a true Renaissance Man. He could do almost anything and he did most of them well. He was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. From the 1950s to the 1980s he worked in Washington, in and out of government, on intelligence, national security and arms control issues, including SALT I and II, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Nuclear Test Ban Treaties. He was a founder and the first Executive Director of the Arms Control Association and the Director of Public Affairs of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Jimmy Carter. He served in the US Army for seven years, from 1954 until 1961, leaving with the rank of Captain. Tom was also a proud member of Nixon’s second enemies list in 1972.

Before moving to Gloucester, Tom served as a Manchester Town Selectman, a role which highlighted his life-long love for community service. He was for many years a Docent at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, MA, a role he loved almost as much as the museum and its visitors loved and cherished him. In every job and circumstance, he demonstrated his skills and talents as Sailor, Writer, Historian, Artist, Humorist, Poet, Humanitarian, Patriot (in an original, true sense of the word) and all-around brilliant man, who cared deeply about his family, his friends, and his country. The world is a smaller place without him. He lives on through his deeds, his family, and his friends.

He is survived by Joy, his wife of 62 years, his son Tom Halsted and spouse Deb Dole, daughter Beth Paddock and husband Simon Paddock, and four grandchildren: Mo Dole, Abby Dole, Zoe Paddock, and Emma Paddock. He is also survived by his siblings, Nell Moore, Charles Halsted, and Bella Halsted.

A celebration of life will be held at a date to be announced. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be sent to the Cape Ann Museum or Care Dimensions Hospice 75 Sylvan St. Suite B-102 Danvers, MA 01923

The Sea and the Stars

By Tom Halsted

Posted on August 21, 2017

The sea has always been a part of my life. Every summer, from the time I was an infant, I could hear the boom of surf bursting on the rocks below our grandparents’ house, the sifting of tumbling pebbles and the louder clatter of larger stones as a just-broken wave drew back before rolling forward again, the mewing of the gulls and the groan of the foghorn, three miles away. Salt was in the air I breathed, and sun-warmed kelp, bladder-wrack and Irish moss.

One of the first books I remember reading was about a boy who grew up in a lighthouse. I remember nothing of the story but this: his father, the lighthouse keeper, sternly told him never to refer to the sea as the “ocean”. “That word’s for maps and schoolbooks; we live by and on the sea,” he said. I have adhered to that sound advice ever since. The “sea” connotes strength, power, and permanence. “The ocean” is only ink on paper.

When I was 6, I was invited by a friend’s parents to spend a weekend at their seaside summer house, where we boys were allowed to sleep aboard his father’s schooner. More than 75 years later, I still remember lying awake in my berth, listening to the sounds of waves splashing against the hull, the creak of a line running back and forth through a block somewhere in the rigging overhead, and those thoroughly nautical smells – a mixture of varnish, mildew, bilge water, and tarred marline.

When I was 8, my grandfather set out to teach me to sail, beginning with basic seamanship: how to turn an eye splice, tie a bowline, come up on a mooring, feather my oars, and make fast a halyard. How to rescue a “man overboard” in the form of a hat or cushion he would suddenly throw over the side. How to tell where the wind is blowing from by feeling the pressure in my ears, and how hard it is blowing by reading the ripples and the whitecaps on the waves. And how to read the weather in the clouds, and always, always, to sense from the rise, the fall, and the onward thrust of the great long swells the power, the dominance, and the endless permanence of the sea.

For most of my life I have owned a boat of one kind or another, and I’ve sailed the seas with many others on theirs, both large and small, whenever I had a chance. I’ve sailed on the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. For years I kept a boat on Chesapeake Bay, and then on Massachusetts’ North Shore. And for 30 years I cruised the waters of Maine, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick with a good friend in his Friendship sloop.

He didn’t care much for high-tech gadgets, and we navigated in the ubiquitous Maine fog more by our senses than anything else: the sound of waves on a nearby shore, the smell of seaweed on sunbaked rocks, the moan of a whistling buoy or the clang of a bell, the cry of gulls overhead. We were close to nature, and we liked it that way. My grandfather would have approved.

In 2006, when he was 88, my friend finally sold his boat, and I did very little sailing thereafter. But I often think of a spiritual moment on a summer night a few years earlier, anchored in a little bay surrounded by uninhabited islands.

In the early morning darkness I had gone on deck to find the half-moon had set and the sky was afire with a billion stars. The Milky Way spread overhead from east to west, dividing the sky in two. The Big Dipper lay low in the northern sky, and the close-packed seven sisters – the Pleiades – glowed faintly over my shoulder. I could make out Cassiopeia and Polaris, and broad-backed Orion was shouldering his way out of the sea to the East. Dozens of other stars and constellations whose names I couldn’t quite remember looked down.

And dozens more looked up from the surrounding sea. Without a breath of air blowing, without a ripple on the silent waters, every star above, every constellation, had its glittering counterpart reflected from below. We floated in the center of a sparkling sphere of light, broken only by the dark ring of islands that defined the horizon.

Then the remains of a great sea swell miles to the south sent a soft ripple through the waters of the bay, the silken mirror trembled, and the spell was broken. But I had been one with the sea and the stars.

Screenshot of Tom Halsted Doodle

GLORIOUS SUNSET OVER EASTEN POINT LIGHTHOUSE AND DOGBAR

There were lots of folks out on the Dogbar enjoying the delightfully balmy weather and sunset spectacle Saturday evening.Dogbar Breakwater Panorama
Eastern Point Lighthouse and Mother Ann
 Old Lighthouse Bell and Chokecherry Tree

The sunset hues grew richer as night fell.

THANK YOU! AND MONARCH FLAKES AT EASTERN POINT LIGHTHOUSE

 Monarchs were streaming all along the coast of Cape Ann yesterday and it was a beautiful sight!

I AM OVERJOYED TO SHARE THAT WE HAVE RAISED 800.00 IN 24 HOURS!!! MY DEEPEST THANKS TO LAUREN M. FROM MANCHESTER, DONNA STOMAN AND PEGGY O’MALLEY FROM GLOUCESTER, JOEY C, AND ANONYMOUS FOR THEIR GENEROUS HELP. 

Please 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. Thank you! DONATE HERE.

Massive Wave of Painted Lady Butterflies Lights up Denver Weather Radar

Thank you to Meg and Donna Stoman for sharing this fantastic story of a 70 mile wide “butterfly cloud!”

DENVER STAR

DENVER—A lacy, cloudlike pattern drifting across a Denver-area radar screen turned out to be a 110-kilometre-wide wave of butterflies, forecasters say.

Paul Schlatter of the National Weather Service said he first thought flocks of birds were making the pattern he saw on the radar Tuesday, but the cloud was headed northwest with the wind, and migrating birds would be southbound in October.

He asked birdwatchers on social media what it might be, and by Wednesday had his answer: People reported seeing a loosely spaced net of painted lady butterflies drifting with the wind across the area.

Schlatter said the colours on the radar image are a result of the butterflies’ shape and direction, not their own colours.

Midwestern radar stations occasionally pick up butterflies, but Schlatter believes it’s a first for Denver.

An unusually large number of painted ladies, which are sometimes mistaken for monarch butterflies, has descended on Colorado’s Front Range in recent weeks, feeding on flowers and sometimes flying together in what seem like clouds.

Sarah Garrett, a lepidopterist at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado, said people from as far away as the Dakotas have called to report seeing the butterflies, whose population typically surges with plentiful flowers.

Research on the painted ladies in North America is limited, but scientists believe they migrate to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico in the fall. In Europe, studies using radio tracking have shown they migrate south from Europe to Africa in the fall and return in the spring. Studies also show that monarch butterflies often use wind to their advantage and glide on currents for periods of time, Garrett said.

An irruption of Painted Ladies is occurring in the northeast and throughout the U.S. Painted Ladies drinking nectar at Seaside Goldenrod.

Compare the larger Monarch (top) to the smaller and richly patterned Painted Lady.

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