Friday, August 12, 2011

Monarch Butterflies at Burfoot Beach

I didn't realize we have monarch butterflies up here, but we do! On July 31st, a sunny, 75-degree day, our family visited the beach at Burfoot Park in Olympia, WA. Near the end of our visit, we walked along the beach and up to a grassy area a little above the beach to see the Queen Anne's lace flowers blooming there. There used to be a house near that spot, so we had never walked up there before, but the house was gone.

As I approached the Queen Anne's lace, I noticed a pretty orange and black butterfly perched on one of the flowers. It fluttered up and around, and I called out to my children to come and see! It stayed in the same area, flying to different flowers, and my children discovered at least two others as well, and we were captivated by the beautiful creatures. My older son told us he thought they were monarchs.

I checked online when we got home, and I submitted pictures to the Butterflies and Months of North America website, and they confirmed that we had indeed seen monarchs! Here is the entry on that website for our sighting of the monarchs: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/sighting_details/549714

Here are some pictures taken that day. . .

Queen Anne's Lace (see the heart?)
(picture taken by me)

Queen Anne's Lace
(picture taken by me)

Queen Anne's Lace and the
yard near where the house used to sit.
(picture taken by me)



picture taken by my younger daughter

picture taken by my younger daughter

picture taken by my older son

A monarch butterfly perched on Queen Anne's Lace
(I think the wings look like a heart in this one!)
picture taken by my older son

A monarch on blackberry blossoms
picture taken by my older son

picture taken by my older son
~* I'm linking this post to Guest Heart Thursday and Camera Critters. *~

14 comments:

  1. What beautiful beautiful monarchs (especially the heart one). We used to have them all over the place, but I have only seen a few in the past 10 years or so. Sigh. I'm so happy that you and the kids got to see such a magical sight.

    The Queen Anne's Lace heart fills my soul! What a perfect heart. We have lots of QAL around here, but not one of them that I've seen is heart shaped (except a dead one last winter)!!! I love yours!

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  2. Can I borrow your older son? I can never seem to capture a good shot of a Monarch.

    Our Queen Anne's Lace is just budding and blooming now. The Monarchs are scarce but coming along. Now to track one down & shoot it!

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  3. Thanks for coming by my blog. What beautiful photos of the monarch. I used to have "bunches" of them in my yard in the fall when they came through on their way South. The last few years I have only seem a few. I hope they return in greater numbers again soon. You sound like a very mature fifteen year old with a good "head on her shoulders" ( and you write very well too). So glad to see that you appreciate nature. Have a lovely weekend. Mickie :)

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  4. Beautiful, the Monarchs are not as plentiful in Iowa this year.

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  5. Thank you all! I'm so glad my children got such nice pictures of them! I wonder why the amount of monarchs being seen where you live has gone down. I'm going to see if I can find out more information about these beautiful butterflies. It really was a magical sight to see them.

    Clytie ~ I'm so glad you like the Queen Anne's lace heart! It was neat to find it! :) I think Queen Anne's lace is so pretty.

    Mickie ~ your words are so kind! I actually wrote this post and not my daughter, but you can check out her blog at http://windchimehill.blogspot.com/ I really do think she has a good head on her shoulders, and she's a great writer! :D

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  6. I love Monarchs! I don't see many of them around here, though. I love the pictures of them. :)

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  7. Hello,
    I don't know who I am addressing, as you don't seem to list a name (or I didn't see it). Your commenters don't tend to say where they are, so their observations are hard to compare with yours. Monarchs are extremely rare in western Washington, since milkweeds do not occur here indigenously. Occasionally a few northward migrants overreach west of the Cascades, as in 1992. However, it is no longer possible to verify that any given observation represents a wild monarch that got here under its own steam, because of the lamentable practice of releasing industrially raised, commercial monarchs at weddings. There have been very few returns from California this year (Mexican returns are down too), and almost no reports from Washington, even in the milkweed zone east of the Cascades. So I suspect your monarchs were probably members of a bunch released at a nearby event, probably of Californian commercial origin. Still beautiful to see, but unlikely native in origin. Thanks for posting your observation, which a friend shared.

    R. M. Pyle, co-cordinator, Northwest Lepidoptera Survey
    and
    author, The Butterflies of Cascadia (Seattle Audubon Society)

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  8. Thank you for all that information, Mr. Pyle! It's very helpful! That is sad that the returns have been down this year. I am disappointed to learn that people release monarchs at weddings and also to hear that those we saw were probably released from a nearby event. I'm very glad we saw them, though; they are amazing creatures. Thank you again! I am grateful you stopped by my blog to share this information!

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  9. Great shots of the monarchs! I had no idea they liked Queen Anne's lace so much!

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  10. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I love your pictures and feedback. Come back soon!

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  11. What beautiful country, and how special to see all of those Monarchs! I haven't seen any of those for years, they are so pretty :)

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