Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Where the Monarchs Go

  Every fall, thousands of Monarch butterflies converge on both Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz Natural Bridges State Park eucalyptus groves during their migration to warmer climates.
These orange and black butterflies hang in clusters from eucalyptus branches in order to maintain body temperature when it dips below 60 degrees. As such, these pods of tightly clinging insects look like giant bouquets of butterflies…a spectacular display of natural wonder for the entire family.
According to David Munro at San Francisco State University, "It has an extensive home range, but specific habitat needs. The ecology and the home range of the monarch butterfly are closely intertwined, as with most species. Put simply, it is dependent upon milkweed plants...the distribution of the monarch is controlled by the distribution of milkweed, it regulates their density in a given area, and it is for this plant that the monarchs migrate for long distances every year. So dependent upon milkweed is the monarch that where one finds the monarch, one will also find milkweed."

Natural Bridges State Park sits on the edge of Monterey Bay.  It's a beautiful beach with huge rock formations that used to form a bridge in the water.  I don't know why I didn't take a picture of the beach, except, I suppose, that I'm so used to it that I didn't think of it.  Talk about taking beautiful things for granted!


  1. Wow! I had no idea! That is beautiful!

  2. Amazing! Jillian will love these pictures. She adores butterflies. Thanks!

  3. WOW!! We see plenty of Monarchs here in NZ and I've blogged on them before but I've never seen anything like that number. We are at the end (or start) of their migration so they disperse when they get here. Your photos have to be one absolutely amazing sight though.