Monarch Butterfly Coastal Migration

Lighthouse Field State Park – come for the butterflies, stay for the lifestyle.

There are many reasons to visit this state park in Santa Cruz, California.  In creating a one-minute film, I only touched on a few of the attractions.  Here are a handful of reasons to visit:  a cool lighthouse, CA’s first surfing museum, monarch butterflies, hiking, surfing, jogging, surf watching, a dog park on the beach, sunbathing, tide pooling, sunset watching; and did I mention monarch butterflies?

Milbrand Cinema Monarch Feeds on Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus trees are non-native to California but in the park, they provide important wind breaks for delicate wintering monarchs and their blooming flowers provide nourishment. 

This monarch rooting site is used year after year from roughly mid October through Mid February.

Milbrand Cinema Monarch Sign

This display shows the lifecycle of the monarch and describes what takes place at this important wintering site before migration. 

Catching light winds, monarchs can travel more than 100-miles in a day and they only fly in daylight.  Our Santa Cruz Monarchs will end up west of the Rocky Mountains.

Milbrand Cinema Monarch Below 55 Degrees

Monarchs are temperature sensitive and gather in great numbers when the temperature is below 55 degrees.  Here they gather on a sheltered cedar tree.  Every year, the wintering number of monarchs varies.  This picture shows over 500.

Monarch development from larvae to adult flyer could be a subject for a whole different blog!

Milbrand Cinema Monarch Larvae & Milkweed

Across the street from the state park is Gateway School, a K-8th grade school that has a special organic garden that grows milkweed, an important food source for monarch larvae. 

To virtually visit the park, see the monarch butterfly and Santa Cruz beach lifestyle, watch this one-minute video.

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