Monarch Grove, Pismo Beach

February 5, 2018 at 8:00 am (Butterflies, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Video) (, , , , )

 

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Most of us will never make it to the wintering site of millions of monarch butterflies in Mexico, but smaller groves of migrating monarchs make their winter stopover in several places on the California Coast.

They hang like clusters of grapes on the branches, layered like roof shingles to keep warm.

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When I was there at the end of December I didn’t realize that my photographs had TWO tagged butterflies!

Monarch Butterfly Grove, Pismo Beach CA Monarch Butterfly Grove, Pismo Beach CA

An expert at Washington State University was able to read enough of the tag in the highly cropped images to say where they were tagged: Elkton, Oregon – 608 miles away! A community education center there raised and tagged 300 monarchs and at least two of them wound up in Pismo!

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From the Monarch Grove website:

“Our colony is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the last five years. The Monarchs that visit Pismo Beach are a special variety. They have a life span of six months as opposed to that of common Monarchs who live only six weeks. This can be attributed to a unique fat storing system. However, even with an extended life span, those butterflies that leave in March will never return.”

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More information on the Pismo Beach Monarch Grove here.

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Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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