Migrating Monarchs in Florida
Marks National Wildlife Refuge near Tallahassee is perhaps
the best places anywhere to see large numbers of monarchs.
On a good day, the are easy to count in the hundreds or thousands. Monarchs
are present between the first of October and the middle
How visible they are depends on the weather. When the sun is out, the weather
fairly warm and the wind is still, the sky is often
filled with the animals.
On overcast, windy days, the butterflies cling to the trees and the goldenrod.
Actually, it is easier to take portrait photographs
of monarchs in the worst weather, when they are not moving.
Although the St. Marks refuge covers more than 60,000 acres, the butterflies
usually pile up in one place: the old lighthouse, just
a few miles past the visitor center.
Monarchs are reluctant to fly directly across the water, so they bunch
up at the lighthouse, located on a small tip, beside the Gulf
of Mexico. They tend to stay for a time because the food supply is good
at this time of year.
A special monarch
butterfly festival is held around the third week of October.
From Florida, the monarchs filter along the Gulf coast toward Texas.
At Alabama's Gulf
State Park near Gulf Shores, monarchs
sometimes cover the oak trees or the sea oats on the beach.
Secour National Wildlife Refuge is another good spot,
where a thousand or more butterflies can be spotted in a couple of hours.
Island is not only another migration stop but a place
where a good number of monarchs over winter. Dauphin Island's temperatures
are usually mild enough that the animals have little trouble surviving.
one of the best places to see monarchs on the island is the old Indian shell mound near the University of Alabama Dauphin Island Sea Lab. They are usually concentrated around the goldenrod near
the west end past the houses. Late October and November mark the best
Butterfly Life Cycle
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