Eagle Pass News Guide, October 15th
article by Carol Cullar

German Film Crew Chasing Monarchs

Mid October saw quite a few strangers visiting Maverick County. About hundred million monarch butterflies arrived over the five to six weeks between October 12th and the end of November, but they weren't alone - if one can be alone in a crowd of 100 million!

A film crew from the ARD (Allgemeiine Deutsche Rundkanstalten), equivalent of our PBS or German government public broadcast services, arrived on October 17th and began filming yet another monarch movie.

Accompanying them was noted writer Robert Michael Pyle, author of fourteen books, including Chasing Monarchs and Where Bigfoot Walks. Mr. Pyle won the John Burroughs Medal for his book Wintergreen. He is a Yale-trained ecologist who currently lives in Washington state.

The Nature Center hosted their tour of our region and took them to Dolan Creek Falls Nature Conservancy to film the migration there and at Baker's Crossing.

The Nature Center asked that property owners call the Center to report large clusters of monarchs. The community welcomed these visitors to our region by providing the very best filming sites.

Last year's film crew from Milam Productions in Kentucky will also be in our region the week of October 12th through the 14th and are hoping to film a few locations they missed last year, if the weather and monarchs are willing to cooperate. They were disappointed that they were unable to get scenes of the monarchs at sunset from several places along George Street. This author recalls that there happened to be a ten inch rain the day that shoot was scheduled.

The German crew seemed to have an even tighter shooting schedule than others in the past. They moved on to the mountains just south of Monterrey, Mexico, when they left here and will eventually make their way with the monarchs to the Preserves in Michoacan when they return in February.

Well-known author and illustrator of children's science books, Ba Rea was in our region during this time. She is collecting information for another monarch adventure. The Nature Center has donated copies of her book MONARCH COME PLAY WITH ME! to both the local Children's Library in Eagle Pass and the Quemado Public Library. Her text MONARCHS, MILKWEED, & MORE is an essential tool for all monarch enthusiasts hoping to identify the many insect predators in the milkweed community.

Maverick County was waiting for the show! By all estimations this year the monarch migration should be a huge one with numbers rivaling or exceeding past years' numbers. Despite a poor reproductive season in Kansas and the Central States, the numbers from the East and Canada are said to be huge.

The scientific question that only Eagle Pass and the Maverick County region can answer will be: do the monarchs from New England and Canada choose the same Central Flyway as those of the Corn Belt?

Local population assessments by the Nature Center and local citizen scientists' reports can help researchers answer that question. Numbers passing through our region closely echo the eventual over-wintering population at the Monarch Preserves in Central Mexico.

Once again: so goes Maverick County, so goes the World - at least the Monarch World, anyway!

Be on the lookout starting the 9th-12th, and call the Nature Center and leave a message as to where you are seeing large clusters of monarchs.

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