The Unpredictable Monarchs

Nov 24, 2015

You never know what they will do.

When you release newly emerged monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus), some linger in the comfort of your hand. Some soar high into the sky. Some flutter to a nearby bush or tree. 

When we released two newly emerged monarch butterflies  on Nov. 20 in our pollinator garden in Vacaville, they formed a perfectly matched pair on the milkweed.

Well, not so perfect and not so identical. One was a male, much smaller than the female. The female appeared more robust and more mobile than the male.

The female inched closer to the male and then settled down to roost. Together they clung to the milkweed all night and into the morning. 

The next afternoon they were gone. Perhaps off to Berkeley?

A newly published report  in Berkleyeside, an independent news site, indicates that clusters of  monarchs are being seen for the first-time ever in Berkeley's Aquatic Park. They're roosting in the trees just east of the 14th hole of the disc-golf course. See the images in Berkeleyside by talented photographer Elaine Miller Bond.

Will the monarchs overwinter there? Or will they journey on to Santa Cruz or elsewhere? That remains to be seen.