Migrating Monarch Hotspots
St. Marks NWR near Tallahassee
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
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.