Natural Bridges State Beach butterfly trail Nov/14
I am visited two main overwintering sites for monarch butterflies. The first is Natural Bridges State Beach. NBSB has a butterfly trail that leads into a eucalyptus tree grove. In the eucalyptus trees high above there are many monarch butterflies hanging in clusters. I have been this site many times. This time I saw more butterflies than I have in the past. In 2012 I arrived in late January. Due to the warm weather the monarchs had left the eucalyptus grove and began their search for milkweed.
The weather in the monarch grove today was typical coastside winter weather. Fog and a cool breeze of the ocean. The monarchs are inactive for the most part. I was surprised to see about 15 monarch flying in the eucalyptus grove. It's possible that they were just arriving or that they were repositioning on their clusters. There is nectar in the area. They may have been out feeding on nectar,
I used a 12.1 MP Cannon point and shoot camera on a tripod to get the photos I have featured on the sidebar. As an amateur photographer it is difficult to get a clear photo of butterflies hanging on a tree 75 to 100+ feet above you. Not to mention that your neck can become sore after gazing into the monarch clusters for a long time. With some patience and adjustments I am happy to share what I saw.
Milkweed butterfly garden at Natural Bridges S.B.
The park has done a great job increasing the amount of milkweed in their monarch butterfly milkweed garden. On my visit in 2012 there were only 3-5 plants that were eaten down to stems.
But as you can see in the slide show. There are many monarch caterpillars on healthy milkweed. I have one criticism. I guess I don't understand why all of their milkweed is non-native. I mean their in an area where there are like 20 native milkweed species. But the milkweed I see is African milkweed and Tropical milkweed. I will not complain about the non-native milkweed anymore because the caterpillars seem very happy and healthy. But I did run a short video on youtube about cutting back tropical milkweed in the winter. You can view the video titled .
Pacific Grove; Butterfly Town U.S.A. Nov/14
On November 15th 2014 a count of the monarchs at Pacific Grove was preformed. On that day 24,000 monarchs were confirmed to be in their monarch sanctuary. The count was 10,000 more monarchs than were there in 2013, just one year earlier.
Seeing is believing. View the slide show now.
There are few experiences that are as simple as the swarm of monarchs that evoke so much emotion. The forrest is silent while holding thousands of tiny black and orange flying insects. Its really a remarkable event.
Brad Grimm at GrowMilkweedPlants.com
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