December 4, 2015 – Pacific Grove California – Butterflies, lots of them, Monarch Grove Sanctuary. The Monarchs fill the skies, cluster on evergreen branches and feast on milkweed flower In a small bit of forest in the midst of a quiet residential area, with the ocean about a third of a mile away on three sides.
This little gem is neatly hidden, so take a moment to read up on how to approach and where to park. There were volunteers with a spotting scope and explaining more about the butterflies. I won’t try to tell the whole story in this post, but suffice to say that these guys migrate as far as 2,000 miles, but uniquely it requires several generations of this insect to make the annual journey. So the individual that was in Canada in the summer is perhaps the great grandparent of the individual which overwinters along the California coast.
At first your attention needs to be drawn to the mass of butterflies in the branches of the evergreens, but after you have seen them, you will find other groups nearby. If you stand between the tall trees with blue sky above you see butterflies flitting to and fro in seemingly random patterns.
As you wander the path, you will come out from under the tall trees and into the sun where tall flowering milkweed bushes are teeming with colorful individuals, closer down where you can get a good look. Keep an eye out as you walk, there may be a few on the ground too.