Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monarch Migration Mississauga, Shoreline Cleanup Port Credit Ontario

The monarch migration this year was later and sparser than in years past, so I was happy to see these butterflies in some numbers on September 24.

My timeline for monarchs migrating in Mississauga is indelibly set as the 11th of September, as on that date in 2001, in the midst of morning news and disbelief, the cosmos in the garden were covered with monarchs: Beauty amidst horror.

And so, each year in early September, I keep watch for the monarchs. In the intervening years, cold weather and loss of habitat in their Mexico wintering grounds decimated much of the monarch population, and I look hopefully each year for their numbers to increase.

Monarchs in Mississauga Port Credit Ontario
On my way to the Port Credit Farmers Market on Saturday, September 24 (coincidentally the same day as the Great Ontario Shoreline Cleanup),  I saw monarchs mobbing the purple flowers of the Butterfly bushes near the Credit River at Memorial Park. I didn't have my camera with me, so shopping done, I returned home to fetch it.

Monarch Butterfly on Butterfly Bush
I took a few photos and a short video (posted below) on my way to help a friend who was one of the shoreline cleanup leaders at Memorial Park/ Credit River.

Monarch Butterflies ~ Banks of the Credit River, Looking North West
The City of Mississauga department that oversees the parks in this part of Port Credit have planted a number of butterfly bushes on either side of Lakeshore Road at the Credit River. As well, they've planted lots of Brown-Eyed Susans, another great monarch favourite.

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup ~ Port Credit Ontario Memorial Park
A perfect fall day to be out in the parks, with cleanup crew making their way around fisherman hoping for salmon in the annual salmon run on the Credit River. Upon seeing the cleanup crew, several of the fisherman joined in, picking up trash and recyclables, and adding them to the bags. Several families out for a walk stopped to thank the cleanup crew for their hard work, and to say how much it was appreciated.

Cleanup Complete:  5 bags trash, 3 bags recyclables
Interesting to see the various categories of trash, windblown or human tossed, and the densities of both. Tim Horton's coffee cups were by far the most common item, and had me wondering if their corporate or local staff could be persuaded to sponsor their own cleanups, or donate/sponsor additional trash cans.

Next up were liquor bottles, concentrated past the Memorial Park gazebo, where summertime festivals take over the stages. I'm just saying. No connection proven, but a startling number of '26ers' were found.

Also problematic for people, pets and birds are discarded fishing line. One of the boys helping with the cleanup found one such entangled mess that still had a three-barb hook attached. Or rather, it found him, as it embedded itself in the sole of his shoe.

[A nearby salmon fisherman removed the hook from the line, and noted that the hook was much too large for Credit River fishing.]

Other items recovered include a broken folding chair, a still-in-pretty-good-shape collapsible canvas chair in carry bag, a large, used paint roller, a soccer ball (slightly dented), the odd beer bottle, and pop cans. Oh! and myriad cigarette butts and plastic bags!

Mouth of the Credit River at Lake Ontario
This is why we clean up our shoreline: The natural and enhanced beauty of this part of Mississauga is a treasure worth preserving, not only for those who live or visit here today, this month or this year, but for generations to come.

Another group scheduled to cleanup the Saddington Park shoreline (out of view to the right in photo) likely would have found similar trash, with the added filip of trash from boats.

Indeed, golf balls from the (we assume, as it's nearest) Mississauga Golf Club regularly find their way several kilometers westward along the currents of the Credit and Lake Ontario to wash ashore at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden. As many as 125 golf balls have been recovered at a time at BRG.

Back to the Monarchs: Here's the short video.