Northern Michigan in Focus: Monarchs on Shelter Island


In May we introduced you to Hugh and Julie Covert, who own Shelter Island in the southeast portion of Drummond Island.

Well something special happened there a couple weeks ago, and Corey Adkins shows you in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

Imagine having the gift of flight: being able to float with the wind for hours and then land wherever you want.

“In August we usually see them coming in and we’ll see just a few flying by, and a week ago we noticed them coming in by the dozens and settling on the trees. There were a couple of hundred in the trees about a week ago by our house, and that’s when we went ‘Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this before,’” said Julie.

Monarchs were migrating from the Manitoulin Islands and Canada, filtering through Drummond Island and a bunch of them we’re resting on Shelter Island.

This is the first time Julie has seen them there in mass like this.

“So for us to walk out our back door and walk down the trail and see a couple hundred butterflies up in the trees, that’s amazing. Why here, why now?” asked Julie.

Julie, who owns the Drummond Island Digest, started snapping pictures and doing some research.

“For them to stop here… We don’t have a lot of food sources for them.  There’s not a whole lot of flowering plants that they can get nectar on, but we’re the first resting point for them and we’re also southeast part of Drummond Island, so from here they’re going to fly south across Lake Huron. So in some ways it makes sense and in some ways it’s still a wonderful mystery,” explained Julie.

Mystery…maybe fairy tale?

“Emily is one of our schooner deckhands for our schooner Huron Jewel and she had never seen a monarch until coming to Drummond. So we took a little walk and went down the trail where I had seen whole bunch of monarchs flying and settling in the trees, and she walked down that trail. They just flew all up around her, it was really awesome,” said Julie.

Just another day on Shelter Island.

“It’s always different. Every time I take a walk I see something different, and this past week it’s been the monarchs migrating through, very special.”

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus