From October through February, the coastal communities of San Luis Obispo County, Calif., host many thousands of migrating Monarch butterflies.
The Monarchs seek shelter at places such as Pismo Beach State Park, Morro Bay State Park and Montana de Oro. While there, they enjoy the mild winter temperatures and relatively low rainfall of that general area.
They make their homes in the tall, fragrant eucalyptus groves next to the ocean.
To protect themselves from wind and rain during stormy weather periods, the Monarch butterflies gather in clusters on the eucalyptus tree branches. They align themselves in vertical rows, so that the wings of one butterfly overlap and protect the next. Quite often, so many Monarchs cluster together that the tree branches do not sway in the wind.
After wintering on the Central Coast, the monarchs will make their way back north as soon as spring and its warmer weather arrives.
Volunteer docents and guides provide tours and information about the Monarch butterflies in the groves.
For information, call the San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Convention Bureau at (800) 634-1414 or visit website www.SanLuisObispoCounty.com