Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Monarchs of Pacific Grove


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In the Monterey Peninsula in the seaside town of Pacific Grove the monarch butterflies call this their winter home. The butterflies sure know what place to call winter home.

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In January, a blurb in the papers spurred us to make the 2.5-hour drive to Pacific Grove. In all the years visiting the area, we have never timed it when the butterflies are home. So when the papers say it's prime time to see them, we skipped church and spent the day in Pacific Grove.

It would be very helpful if one reads up on monarch butterflies before visiting. There is a docent available when we went there who is ready to answer any questions about the butterflies. And from fellow visitors we learned that there were more visible butterflies on the day we came than on the previous day.

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The path.

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The butterflies spend their winter in the grove of eucalyptus and pine trees after traveling 2000 miles. The first generation begins their migration in wintering locations along the California coast. Here, they cluster in eucalyptus groves, mating in late January and leaving for spring migration by March.

The Monarchs lay their eggs inland on milkweed plants in the Sierra Nevada foothills and then die. The second generation hatches and flies across the mountains into Oregon, Nevada or Arizona. Third and fourth Monarch butterfly generations fan out even further and then return to the California coast, to the place where their great-great grandparents started.

According to the docent, with the very mild winter we had, the butterflies got confused. Because it was warm many butterflies left early thinking it was time to go. Still there were clusters of butterflies clumped in the tree branches. The trees are numbered to make it easy for the ones studying the butterflies which tree they prefer to stay.

The docent set up a sighting scope to make it easier to spot the butterflies. Unfortunately, they were clumped on the side of the trees that faced away from the main viewing path. They could easily be seen from the homes that border the grove.

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OUR WORLD TUESDAY

25 comments:

  1. Whoa I thought those were leaves but upon closer inspection I realized they are butterflies. Nice shot! =]

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  2. Whoa! That is absolutely fascinating, but creepy at the same time!

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  3. I would skip church for that any day, Maria. OMG! I've never seen anything like that...all those Monarchs clumped together in one tree like that. THANK YOU for going so that I could see this through you!

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing this event when the butterflies are home ~ Awesome photography and such a miracle when one thinks about the Monarchs ~ ~ Wonderful post for OWT

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

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  5. That was really interesting and what great photos! I love the last ones, where there are butterflies on top of butterflies hanging in the trees. Didn't know they liked eucalyptus. I grow milkweed for them here in Minnesota.

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  6. One of nature's marvels. Thanks for sharing this very interesting experience.

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  7. Great to see the Monarch butterflies, beautiful photos.

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  8. Great information and wonderful shots of the butterflies.

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  9. That's a lot of butterflies. I have yet to photograph one!

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  10. In New Zealand, we grow swan plants for the Monarchs.

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  11. What a wonderful display! I have only seen monarchs in great numbers once here in New Zealand. Nobody seems to know if they have any habitual movements on our islands.

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  12. Beautiful butterflies. They are having a good time.

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  13. Looks like a beautiful park n must say thr are lot of butterflies. I had visited one of the butterfly parks at my place n could hardly find 10 to 15 in the wild..

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  14. I have never seen so many butterflies!

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  15. So many!! Boom ,Bobbi and Gary.

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  16. A fine post of the beautiful butterflies. The density of those last pictures is amazing.

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  17. A fine post of the beautiful butterflies. The density of those last pictures is amazing.

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  18. Amazing! Would love to witness their migration.

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  19. Wow! Just gorgeous, breathtaking butterflies's photos!
    I have a video and a magazine of the National Geographic with that amazing migration.

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  20. OMG that is really amazing! I have seen a lot of these in photos, but it never ceases to amaze me. Somehow it is more personal when someone i almost know, like you, saw them in her own lens. Awesome!

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  21. What an amazing place you visited. I just love butterflies. This is now on my bucket list for sure.
    JM Illinois

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  22. What an amazing place you visited. I just love butterflies. This is now on my bucket list for sure.
    JM Illinois

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  23. What an amazing place you visited. I just love butterflies. This is now on my bucket list for sure.
    JM Illinois

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  24. That is really amazing. I can't believe how many there are! Wow! Very interesting info. They look so fragile yet can travel so far.

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