Pismo Beach is home to the largest Monarch butterfly population west of the Rocky Mountains. Large numbers of the orange beauties also settle in Morro Bay and Pacific Grove at this time of year. Both those locations are north of here. Morro Bay is south of San Simeon, and Pacific Grove is near Monterey. The b-fly population here in Pismo has been averaging 25,000 over the past 5 years. They come to these parts to overwinter in the cool, moist climate of the California coast.
The Monarch's that are here right now will leave by March and will not return to this location. Their life span is only 6 months. Their future generations, however, will consistently return here...to these same pine, cypress and eucalyptus trees. These M's will not migrate to Mexico like many folks may think. The M's east of the Rocky Mountains are the ones that will fly all the way to Mexico for the winter.
* Monarch's have a wing span of 3 to 4 inches
* They cannot fly at temperatures below 55F, 12.7C
* Monarch caterpillars eat milkweed plants
* Monarch butterflies eat nectar
* Milkweed is toxic and makes M's poisonous to birds
This Pismo Beach Butterfly Grove has some off-street parking and there are a couple of docents here to answer questions. They have also set out some telescopes to try and get a closer view of the butterflies. Check out this web site for more information.
The recent rains did not scare away these tiny insects. There were plenty for us to see. I hope some of you can see them someday, too.
Outside the entry road to Pismo Coast Village they have a large replica of a Pismo Clam. The RV park staff hires a local artist to come and paint this "clam" up in differents ways according to the season. Right now it is painted up like a giant Monarch butterfly. We've seen it painted like a jack-o-lantern, Thanksgiving turkey and an Easter bunny.
Until next time.....so long for now!