Monday, November 29, 2010

Monarch Butterfly Excursion!

Up in the mountains in Michoacan, Mexico (a 3 hour drive from where we live), you'll find Monarch butterflies that migrate from the US and Canada. They make this migration every year in November and stay there until February. Monarch butterflies only have a life span of 8 months, so it's quite miraculous that generation after generation, these butterflies continue their migrations to the same exact spots in Mexico.

So, since, I am not getting any smaller these days, Ryan and I decided to make a list of all the little trips we want to take before baby Frank comes. Seeing the migrating butterflies was one of them. We drove to a small town, Mavatio, Friday night and slept in this tiny and very old hotel room. In the morning we drove to the mountains, then up up up to the top we went. Thankfully there is a road for most of it. Then, you hike (more like a stair stepper exercise, if you ask me) for 45 minutes till you get to the top of the mountains where you see the branches of dozens of trees weighed down by all the butterflies. There were thousands of them perched in the branches. The butterflies do not leave the branches and fly around
unless the sun shines on them. And unfortunately for us, it was pretty cloudy. We had a burst of sunshine for maybe ten minutes and several of them started flying around.

It was so neat to see them all. These photos don't do justice, but the quantity of monarch butterflies hanging out in the trees was pretty incredible and as you looked around yourself you would find more and more trees in the distance with the same thing. The place we went to was
a reserve so they have many of the trees roped off to protect them. and even crazier to think about is that there were several other reserves and locations to see the butterflies in the neighboring mountains!
We had a beautiful weekend! Enjoy the pictures!

Here is Frankie, posing for a pic as we hiked up the mountain

A view going up the mountain with a pretty decent slope

This little one was perched on a twig next to me with an injured wing.
Poor thing wasn't doing so well.

Fly my pretties! Fly, Fly!
(It was pretty hard to get a shot of them flying around unless you caught
their silhouettes in a patch of blue sky)

Most of the butterflies were high in the trees, but occasionally a few
would come down and model for us:)

Here is my attempt to show you the butterflies in the trees.
Basically all the brown on the branches are them. With their wings closed,
you don't see their orange until they fly. You can make out the shapes of
their wings a little better in this picture.

We met up with a bunch of other people when we got to the top.
Everybody was very respectful and quiet as we all watched.

Woohoo, here comes the light...! Can you see how the branches are all heavy looking?
Basically the leaves on those branches aren't leaves, but butterflies.

Here is another shot, where I think you can see the
reddish brown of their wings better

Another butterfly gone solo and not too shy to come say hello down by us
(Though he was still pretty high up!)


  1. oh my goodness! That is amazing. Almost a little buggy gross, but amazing! How lucky you two got to experience that!

  2. What a cute goober in the first picture:)