Are you excited? ‘Tis is the season to head out to the California coast and visit the groves of wintering Monarch Butterflies! They perch high in the trees holding out on the warm coast of central and southern California as winter blusters to the North East. Meanwhile they provide a serene experience for those of us who love to admire God’s creation.
If you are looking for a relaxing escape this winter you just might want to spend an afternoon with these mysterious flutter-bys. Here are my recommendations to make the experience extra special:
- Confirm the population has arrived/or is still present at the grove you have chosen.
- Schedule your visit for the warmest part of the day when the pretties are their most active.
- Stay warm with a thermos of hot chocolate.
- A hefty beach blanket will save your neck. Lay it out on the ground or a bench and enjoy a relaxing repose with a friend.
- Binoculars or a camera with a great zoom will give you a much better view of the activity.
- Don’t Panic if you can’t seem to find any butterflies. …
Quick Entymology Lesson
Those clusters of dried leaves you think you are looking at might actually be butterflies. Unlike moths, butterflies close their wings upright like a little sail boat when they are resting. This pose causes much frustration for photographers because the brilliant colors on the top of a butterfly’s wing are usually very muted on the underside. Our dear little Monarch is camouflaged as a brown leaf while clinging to the branches of the Eucalyptus tree. So get out those binoculars and look a little closer. And then hope for some sun to warm them up so they will start to flutter and show their orange brilliance.
- Contemplate the beauty of new life, like the butterfly that emerges from a chrysalis, a caterpillar no more.
- Finish off your visit with a plate of yummy seafood and a romantic sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Photo Credit: pedro lastra, Lasting Images.
Say Hello to the flutter-by’s for me!