[Journey North Data Verifier Note: contacted observer for more information about this observation; additional information contributed by observer, added by Journey North, 11/01/2022]:
We sat, overlooking the center of the eucalyptus grove for about an hour from 11:00 am–noon. It was warm, so we did not see any clumps of butterflies as we had in previous years. The butterflies were active and flying or resting on eucalyptus branches. They were easier to spot this year because the drought killed many trees in this grove, and there are no leaves on many of these branches anymore.
The sun filtered straight down through the eucalyptus trees in the center of the still, windless grove. He looked first for movement and then the confirmation of the sunlight hitting those orange and black wings. He counted each butterfly he sighted, however, he probably doubled-counted a few, and—given the lighting and the portion of the protected part of the grove that we could see—there are probably several butterflies that are not counted in the shadows. The Monarchs were flying either halfway or three-quarters of the way up a grown eucalyptus tree. They were not low to the ground.
I tried to get photos of the Monarchs, however, they were flying high enough overhead (eucalyptus treetops) and they were far enough away (due to rope barriers protecting the area for the Monarchs). The center area is protected by a rope, so we are not able to get particularly close.
We plan to return to the grove in the near future (and preferably early in the day when it is cooler), so that we can look for them in clumps when they are not flying about so much.)
Latitude: 34.4 Longitude: -119.9
Observed by: Angela
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