[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: The Monarchs Are On the Coast | 01-24-2013
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Partly sunny
Partly sunny
49°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 6
1864 - Actor William S. Hart born in Newburgh, New York [Hart Index]


Let's Go Outside | Commentary by Evelyne Vandersande
| Thursday, Jan 24, 2013

evelynevandersande_mugMonarchy is not taking over. No king, queen or emperor is in Coronado; I am referring to the large, migratory orange and black butterflies that are spending the winter there in the eucalyptus grove.

I try to keep my articles about nature in Santa Clarita, but this is such a wonderful experience. It’s something you expect to read about only in National Geographic. It is not so far from home; it’s in Goleta, which is above Isla Vista, close to UCSB, so about an hour and 45 minutes from Santa Clarita.

 

What is going on there?

The monarch butterflies cannot survive cold winter temperatures of the northern states, so they migrate south and spend the winter in this grove of eucalyptus.

Photos by Paul A. Levine

Photos by Paul A. Levine

I first arrived there on a foggy day and was looking for the butterflies when I noticed the branches were covered with a sort of brown fur. After a second look, I realized there were thousands of butterflies amassed in grapes along the branches, with their wings closed. As soon as the sun came out, clouds of butterflies rose into the air, and I felt like Alice in Wonderland. It was such an incredible, beautiful sight and such a rare situation to be surrounded by all those delicate and colorful creatures that the memory makes me smile.

The butterflies are here from January to March to escape the cold weather. They will leave in March, so plan your visit now: Take Highway 126; it turns into the 101 North. Exit Storke Road/Glen Annie and head south (away from the mountains). Turn right on Hollister Avenue, drive about 1.2 miles and take a left on Coronado Drive. The entrance of the preserve is at the end of Coronado Drive. It is free; it is an easy, flat walk, but it can get muddy, so wear good shoes.

After the preserve, you can take a lovely walk on the buff with a view of the ocean, take a picnic and have a wonderful time.

 

monarchs5Why are they here?

It is their roosting spot and they spend the winter there, safe from the cold. Monarch butterflies are the only insects that can fly 2,500 miles to a warmer climate.

How they can find this roost is a big mystery. Their life span is short, so the monarchs coming to roost this winter are the great-great-grand children of the butterflies that left the previous spring.

We do not know how their homing system works; we can track their whereabouts because some butterflies get tagged on their wings. The tag can be checked, and it serves as proof of the long journey of a specific individual.

We came to the conclusion their homing system is a combination of the position of the sun in the sky and their use of the Earth’s magnetic field for orientation.

Monarch butterflies are poisonous or distasteful to birds and mammals because of the poison contained in milkweed they consume as larvae. The bright colors of the larvae and adults are thought to function as warning colors.

monarchs3Let’s review the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. The egg lasts about four to six days, and the caterpillar breaks out of the egg (this is known as the larva stage). The caterpillar will eat as much as possible for about 12 to 16 days and will grow to about two inches long. Then the caterpillar stops eating, spins its cocoon and becomes a chrysalis for about nine to 12 days. Another miracle will occur when the most gorgeous butterfly emerges, breaking free from the cocoon and  letting its wings get some strength before the first flight.

Butterflies are beautiful and incredible insects. Their wings are not well designed for such a long journey;  some research indicates they preserve their energy in flight by gliding on air currents as they travel south, but we really do not understand how they can handle such a long and dangerous flight when even a rain storm can result in death.

Take a little drive to their wintering spot, choose a sunny day and you will have an unforgettable experience. I hope you will be able to appreciate them even more by knowing the difficulty of their long journey.

 

Evelyne Vandersande has been a docent at Placerita Canyon Nature Center for 27 years. She lives in Newhall.

 

monarch2 monarchs4 monarchs6

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Debbie Krubsack (scvguide) says:

    Evelyne, thank you for sharing this. It truly is an amazing experience that should not be missed. For the price of a few gallons of gasoline, you can have a memory that will never leave you! I will never forget both my visit to the butterfly grove and the bluff. We timed it to watch the sunset from the bluff. (Bring a flashlight!)

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Friday, Dec 2, 2016
Here it is the end of the year and the culmination of a lot of programs, services and projects for us at the city
Thursday, Dec 1, 2016
It has been my honor to serve as your Mayor this year. The city of Santa Clarita is one of California’s best cities and it just keeps getting better and better.
Tuesday, Nov 22, 2016
I had never heard the term “throughput” before a meeting at our hospital two years ago. It was used to discuss how the emergency department (ED) could yield greater profits by faster patient turnover. Coordinating various duties (including intake, admitting, and cleaning staff; lab and radiology; nurses and doctors) patients could be shuttled into and out of the ED earning the hospital $2 million more per year.
Friday, Nov 18, 2016
After nearly 3 years and a large reply from concerned citizens, the Chiquita Landfill and the Los Angeles County have released their revision to the Draft Environment Impact Report.
Thursday, Nov 17, 2016
The Holiday Craft Fair is coming to Placerita Canyon Nature Center on Saturday, December 3 and 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day.
Sunday, Nov 13, 2016
Apparently, the tree octopus is intelligent and inquisitive and well suited to arboreal adaptation, being able to pull itself along tree branches by instinctively using “tentaculation.” Far away from its original ocean habitat, the tree octopus developed a taste for insects, frogs, rodents and bird eggs. Their eyesight on land is comparable to human eyesight, enabling them to see and hunt their prey.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1864 - Actor William S. Hart born in Newburgh, New York [Hart Index]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Kathryn Barger was sworn in as L.A. County Supervisor for the Fifth District. Plus, the audience at COC's PAC was dazzled by an electrifying performance on Sunday. Check out these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Monday, December 5, 2016
A construction worker who fell off a four-foot wall at Six Flags Magic Mountain around 4:30 p.m. Monday sustained minor injuries after colliding with a short stake, officials said.
Construction Worker OK After Falling onto Stake
District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced today that she plans to focus more attention on protecting children from abuse and neglect and addressing the growing opioid abuse epidemic. She also said she plans to mandate elimination of bias training for all prosecutors.
DA Jackie Lacey Announces Goals at Oath of Office Ceremony
The California Department of Transportation will close portions of the I-5 between the SR-170 and the Kern County line as part of a sign replacement project.
Dec. 5-9: Caltrans Lane Closures on I-5
The Wings for Life World Run has announced its return to the city of Santa Clarita for the fourth consecutive year, as participants everywhere unite to find a cure for spinal cord injury.
Wings for Life World Run Set to Return to Santa Clarita on May 7, 2017
See what's coming from the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Upcoming SCV Chamber of Commerce Events
TV shows, commercials and a student project are currently being filmed in Santa Clarita this week.
Currently Filming in SCV: Germany’s Next Top Model, Fan Slam, Magic Camp
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been awarded a $1,945,000.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries.
LASD Receives Grant for Special Traffic Enforcement, Crash Prevention
University of Antelope Valley Men’s (2-5, 1-0 Cal Pac) and Women’s Basketball (5-2, 1-0 Cal Pac) successfully opened up Cal Pac Conference play at La Sierra University in Riverside, CA with two huge wins in two high scoring match-ups.
UAV Basketball Dominates in Cal Pac Opener
Jean Dobre and Wendy Yamada will have the Grand Opening of their new Arthur Murray Valencia Dance Studio, Friday Dec. 9 and Saturday, Dec. 10 at 24165 Magic Mountain Parkway.
Dec. 9-10: Arthur Murray Valencia Dance Studio to Host Grand Opening
In a musical holiday extravaganza, the award-winning Hart High School Show Choir will perform “Nightmare Before Christmas” in a whole new way. Rather than bringing the performance to the stage, attendees will be led through a sequence of scenes each telling a piece of this fun holiday story. Groups of 20 will be escorted on their adventure every 20 minutes from 3 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 and between 2 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11 at Hart High School.
Dec. 10-11: Hart Choir to Perform “Nightmare Before Christmas”
Castaic/ Val Verde Crime Report for the week of November 21, 2016 - November 27, 2016
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft in Castaic, Val Verde
1938 - Supervisors award construction contract for jail at Wayside Farms in Castaic (later called Pitchess Detention Center). [story]
1962- Actress and future Soledad Canyon big-cat rescuer Tippi Hedren, "Hitchcock's New Grace Kelly," makes cover of Look magazine for upcoming thriller, "The Birds" [story]
1887 - Prohibitionist Henry Needham purchases land in Newhall, attempts to establish "dry" colony [story]
The Latino Business Alliance will be hosting a "Posada Breakfast" on December 6, which will be an opportunity to network with others in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Dec. 6: Network with Fellow Business Owners at the Posada Breakfast
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Los Angeles, or CASA/LA, a non-profit organization that drastically improves the lives of abused and neglected foster children in LA County through trained volunteer advocates, will be hosting its first CASA Book Fair in collaboration with Barnes & Noble of Valencia December 8.
Dec. 8: CASA/LA Book Fair Fundraiser to be Held at Barnes & Noble in Valencia
The County Interim Health Officer is issuing a Cold Weather Alert due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures.
Cold Weather Alert for Antelope Valley, L.A. County Mountain Areas
Just as people plan for retirement, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) urges them to plan for changing needs and abilities in their driving as they age.
CHP Recommends Planning for Senior Drivers
Here it is the end of the year and the culmination of a lot of programs, services and projects for us at the city
Message from the City Manager
Santa Clarita Valley firefighters handled a pair of brush fires Friday, officials said, leaving none injured and no structures threatened.
LACoFD Battle 2 Brush Fires, Both Now Under Control
Stevenson Ranch Crime Report: November 21, 2016 - November 27, 2016
Crime Blotter: Burglary, Petty Theft in Stevenson Ranch
1972 - Five wounded in Vagos biker gang shooting at Curtis & JoAnne Darcy's Acton '49er Saloon [story]
A 23-year-old woman was arrested after she attempted to flee the scene of a hit-and-run crash that left one man in the hospital with major injuries.
Motorcyclist Sustains Major Injuries in Hit-and-Run Crash
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Princess Cruises has agreed to plead guilty to seven charges stemming from its deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up. Plus, retiring L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich shares some inspiring words about achieving your dreams and moving forward. See these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, December 1, 2016
Pocock Brewing Co. will host their 1st Anniversary Beer Festival benefiting the Castaic and SCV Education Foundations this month.
Pocock Brewing to Host Fundraiser for Castaic, SCV Education Foundations
The Valley Industry Association will review and close the 2016 year, and formally install the 2017 Valley Industry Association Board of Directors at their upcoming meeting.
Dec. 20: VIA to Install New Board of Directors
The ALDI grocery store chain is coming to Santa Clarita this month.
Dec. 15: ALDI Grocery Store to Open in Santa Clarita
The Santa Clarita Public Libraries are providing families with plenty of occasions to embrace the spirit of the holidays through the month of December.
Santa Clarita Libraries Embrace Holiday Spirit with Family-friendly Events
The Transportation Research Board announced Thursday that Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty will become chair of its Executive Committee, effective January 12, 2017.
Caltrans Appoints Chair of Executive Committee
An artist named "Six" is hosting an opening reception for the installation piece "Ghost Band."
‘Ghost Band’ Art Installation Comes to ARTree
The 16 Santa Clarita Valley LDS congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are inviting the public to attend their annual Community Christmas Concert.
SCV Latter-day Saints Congregations Host ‘When Love Was Born’ Performance
The Southern California Football Association has announced its 2016 All-League Teams and seven players from College of the Canyons are included among the honorees from the National Division, Northern League.
SCFA Honors Seven COC Football Players
A Valencia man got the chance to participate in as a featured “Trader” in an attempt to avoid “Zonks” and win a sensational selection of prizes on the game show "Lets Make A Deal".
Valencia Man to Appear on ‘Lets Make A Deal’
Bakkavor Foods USA, Inc. is voluntarily recalling Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Hummus and Trader Joe’s White Bean & Basil Hummus with “USE BY” date codes up through and including "12/15/2016," because these products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Recall: Two Types of Trader Joe’s Hummus Potentially Contaminated by Listeria