Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Butterfly Grove

Once again we feel lucky to be here in Pismo Beach at this time.  Yes, we are enjoying a beautiful and sunny day, but that's not it.  We are here with the beautiful Monarch butterflies.  These butterflies migrate to this area, from November thru February, every year.  They fly in from northern areas where the winters get too cold for them.  Before lunch, Bruce and I walked the short distance from Pismo Coast Village to check out this year's butterfly population...and to take a few pics.  (click on photos for large view)

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 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 long for now!


Happytrails said...

Thanks for the interesting facts about the monarch butterfly! They are such beautiful butterflies. Your pictures were great as usual.
I especially enjoyed reading the link you provided.

Glad your weather is nice! Gee, this has been an awful winter with all kinds of weather situations.

Take care and continue to enjoy yoru journey.

Rick and Paulette said...

Very interesting post - we missed that Monarch Butterfly info altogether when we were in Pismo Beach. We'll definitely check it out next time though, that's for sure!

Carol K said...

I've seen the Monarch butterflies at Pismo Beach. It's quite a sight to behold! We also saw some at a state park in Santa Cruz last year.

baili said...

wow they are so beautiful on first sight i they look like flowers on branches,i came from paula 'blog congrats for awards,i just loved the way you live ,visit and explore the wonders of nature,thanks for such amazing blog, have a lovely life dear

Karon said...

Thanks for the info. I would love to see that one of these days. The Monarchs are beautiful.

Jerry and Suzy said...

We have seen those lovelies at Pacific Grove. also in huge numbers -- many years ago. Good to see them again through your blog!