I feel so very fortunate to be able to see thousands of Monarch butterflies resting overnight on the trees in our windbreak on their migration to the south. I did some mowing late afternoon and noticed many Monarch butterflies as I mowed and was fascinated just watching them flit from one place to another but a lot were landing and sitting along the edges of a mud puddle out by our barn. I presume they were stopping to get a drink. As it was nearing sunset my husband, John and I started walking around looking for where they were going to rest for the night and discovered several places on the west side of the cedar trees west of our house. I have never, ever seen this many Monarch butterflies before and it is magnificent to see so many of the beautiful insects clustered on the cedar trees. John was lucky to see a display like this a few years ago down at one of our pastures. He said the trees were just alive with the thousands of butterflies. Not sure how many are here but I would guess 100s and maybe even up to 1000 and they were still arriving when I finally went into the house at 7 pm. I went out again this morning and got more photos and at 7 am they were mostly all hanging upside down with their wings closed. If I wouldn’t have know they were butterflies at first glance they looked like dead leaves just hanging on the branches which is probably how they avoid getting eaten by the birds.None of the bunches of butterflies were hanging low so used my zoom lens to try and get close up shots of them. My zoom lens did a pretty god job though.
From what I have read the Monarch butterflies that are here in Nebraska and other places east will migrate clear down to Mexico but the butterflies found west of the Rocky Mountains migrate to southern California. It is hard to imagine the delicate looking butterflies flying that far. Here are a couple of websites that tell about the migration.
USDA Forest Service Monarch Butterfly Migration
This is an experience I will never forget and the photos I have posted just don’t give the total feeling of awe I felt watching them.