Anabel Harries wrote to me: "I first saw this Brown-veined White Belenois aurota migration on the 30th of January, I have already mentioned (as you were not around) it to Neil Baker in my bird list for that month.
So here at Magongo (8km west of Arusha) ever since that day (excepting maybe a couple of days when I didn't go up to the hill) I have been seeing the movement , I must say the peak in this place was on the 3rd February; as I wrote in my bird notes, it was amazing, they were literally surrounding me!
By the 7th February the numbers were much less...but still a few were going through.
I don't want to make things more complicated but....do you have any info. about the Dragonfly Migration on 6th of January? Pantala flavescens?"
On February 6 Kapanya Kitaba wrote to the Tanzania bird egroup:
"The butterflies Brown -veined White ( Belenois aurota aurota ) have
been migrating in thousands and thousands around Arumeru and beyond,
moving in a south westerly direction.
The insects, it seems, are not bothered by
birds. Despite the shrikes, flycatchers and other species that are known to
feed on insects, including butterflies, we did not see any birds hawking
them! Any ideas behind this??
Lars at Maweni Farm replied to this message which I had forwarded from Kapanya:
"Ah... that is interesting. We still haven't seen a single one being taken by a bird.
But why bother with being poisonous when you are that many? Hard to see how birds could decimate this flock in a serious way, we must have had tons of them flying over for many hours now.
The children here are learning a trick from Msheba right now: they attach small pieces of paper to sticks and wave them in a manner that is supposed to make the butterflies follow them as they run through the garden. Quite a picture if it works."
Lars Johansson wrote me on February 14 "Right now in Maweni, midday sun shining from a clear blue sky, the air is full of little white butterflies, drifting from north to south, just like snow, millions of them. No birds are feeding on them, I guess they are already so full that they can't take off."