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.
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.
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.
OUR WORLD TUESDAY