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Eucalyptus Grove, Santa Cruz

My sister-in-law and I have tried for a couple years to get to Natural Bridges State Park for a monarch butterfly tour.  Monarchs that summer in the northern reaches of the western United States and southern British Columbia migrate to a eucalyptus grove along the coast of Santa Cruz, California each winter.  They arrive in October and used to stay apparently til March, but now are mostly gone by the end of December.  

We came armed with questions and were not disappointed in the display at the Visitor Center nor with our guide.  She wasn't a scientist, but she was enthusiastic and had the answers to most of our questions.  Monarchs are fascinating!  They are the only butterfly that makes a twice yearly migration.
Eucalyptus Grove, Santa Cruz, California

Monarchs migrate 50-75 or so miles each day and ours in the west have to go against the wind.  Can you imagine those delicate wings of theirs trying to get through the wind?If it's grey out the butterflies cluster and look like leaves in the trees.  If the temperature gets above a certain temperature they'll fly around in the tops of the trees.

Their favorite food is milkweed and they will lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves as well as under pieces of wood near a food source.

Green Pond, Natural Bridges State park, California

Next year we're going to go early to mid-November to catch them at their peak.  This year we didn't see many and the only one we were able to get a close-up shot of was in a fenced off area near the Visitor Center where they were growing milkweed and the Pincushion Flower that they enjoy.

Monarch on a flower, California


Oh I do love the Monarch's -

Oh I do love the Monarch's - such an amazing insect!! I think it is fascinating to know that the almost 2000 mile journey that some take to Mexico is done so by 3rd and 4th generation Monarchs each year - how on earth do they know where to go? I worried about the Monarch caterpillars I found just weeks ago, on milkweed of course, and hoped that they made it through our brief cold spell!!And they are quite fast flyers! Terribly hard to track through the lens, haha!

that is amazing! Sounds like

that is amazing! Sounds like global warming, if they are leaving the southern climate and returning north so early! {:-D

That would be so awesome to

That would be so awesome to see so many all in one place! I have a few butterfly bushes that they love in the summer. I do need to grow caterpillar food as well.

You were in Sanfa Cruz? Me

You were in Sanfa Cruz? Me too! Walked on West Cliff two days and East Cliff the rest, wish I had known I could have said hi!

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