Overwintering Photos

Backlit Monarchs
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Backlit Monarchs

It's a wonderful time of year for a trip to the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. This was last weekend about two-thirty in the afternoon when the light was coming around behind them. But the light moves fast in their little gorge, only a few moments later the sun was gone from this cluster.


Resting Monarchs
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Resting Monarchs

This is a shot from our beautiful Coronado Butterfly Preserve in Goleta. This year the butterfly population seemed a bit smaller than years past, but they are still an absoultely amazing sight.


Backlit Monarchs
Monday, December 10, 2012
Backlit Monarchs

It's the time of year when the Monarch Butterflies return to their overwintering spot in Santa Barbara, the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. According to the experts the clusters of butterflies are small this year, although it's still early. Even so the experience is amazing. This is just one of the small clusters, but the position of the sun was perfect. What you can't see are the hundreds of butterflies fluttering around the grove. It's a wonderful spot that only exists because of the hard work of volunteers and donors who have protected it.


Monarch Motel
Wednesday, February 2, 2005
Monarch Motel

This looks like something you would only see on Animal Planet. But Santa Barbara has one of the largest Southern California overwintering spots for the Monarch Butterfly.

Until about a month ago this spot was in serious danger of being turned into multi-million dollar condos. The Friends of the Ellwood Mesa had two years to raise $20.4 million to purchase the 137 acres and turn it into a preserve. An anonymous donation of $307,000 in the last week of the campaign sealed the deal.

The truly amazing thing about these butterflies is none of them have ever been here before. During the summer breeding season Monarchs only live for two to six weeks. So the Butterflies that migrated north last year are long gone (and I bet it was the trip that killed them!) These guys are in a hibernation-like state brought on by the changing weather in the fall. They are lucky, they can live for up to eight months (or unlucky if you think about the 1000+ mile flight they have to make to be safe in the winter.)

The fall generation of Monarchs make the migration from the north, and settle in Eucalyptus groves on the coast of California and in Mexico. They live through the winter before coming out of the hibernation state, called "reproductive diapause", at which time they are ready to usher in the new generation of Monarchs.