Butterflies of Pismo Beach – Long Live our Monarch

the BUTTERFLY!birds7

I couldn’t believe my eyes when the leaves in the trees started to come to life!  It is a natural phenomenon – a sight to behold.

Each year thousands of vibrant orange and black Monarch Butterflies flock to Pismo Beach, seeking shelter from the freezing northern winters. From late October to February, the butterflies cluster in the limbs of a grove of Eucalyptus trees at Pismo State Beach.  A beautiful place where I camped on several occasions.


The butterflies form dense clusters (as in the above photo) with each one hanging with its wing down over the one below it to form a shingle effect. This provides shelter from the rain and warmth for the group. The weight of the cluster help keeps it from whipping in the wind and dislodging the butterflies.

Waking up!
Waking up!  This photo from website

The colony at Pismo Beach (home of the beach blanket bingo movies with Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello in the mid 60’s should anyone care) is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the years but the numbers have exceeded a quarter million.

The annual Monarch butterfly migration in Michoacan, Mexico is the largest in the world and is a famous top attraction for visitors.  I have yet to see it. Can there be anything more beautiful?

Photos: d. king


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