On Saturday, we visited the monarch butterfly grove. A small grove of about 40 eucalyptus trees hosts thousands of monarch butterflies in the winter. I’m not sure how many show up at the peak, the volunteers were estimating 20,000 butterflies were there last weekend. Cold weather meant (about 50 degrees F) so the butterflies were not flying, so we saw them massed in a tree. So looking at the dark green mass in the middle of the picture — it’s not the tree, that’s thousands of butterflies. You can’t see the brilliant colors because they are huddled into a mass and there may be cocoons up there as well. So below the photo is a picture of one butterfly trying to learn how to fly.
My folks came with us and I actually got some good pictures of them. Here they are with their dog Sadie and one of the volunteers. On Friday night, Sadie decided to pull rank on our dog Elly. We had come to their hotel room to visit. Elly had brought a bone which she sort of abandoned in the excitement of seeing Sadie again. So Sadie grabbed to bone and made it very clear that she was keeping the bone. Given she weighs more, is bigger, and is older, she won. Our dog was bereft although we had a good supply in our bedroom. The funny thing is that Sadie never ate rawhide bones before this trip. Don’t worry about Elly being deprived, she had a wonderful doggy vacation. I’ll tell you more about it later. Got some really nice pictures with the IPAD, will share them below.
Feb 2nd is Imbolc, Brigid’s feast aka Candlemas; a traditional celtic celebration of the half way point between the solstice and the equinox. Tradition has it that if the weather is nice, the spring will be cold and hard. Well we had cold, dreary weather that day, so it should be a beautiful spring. Other traditions including having big feasts, and we did. In the evening, we went out with Mom and Dad for a fantastic seafood dinner. The restaurant looked like a dive because it was old and not fancy from the outside. But the reality was clean with everything in good repair, and the food was excellent. This was where the locals eat, we had clams, fish, chowder, and seafood stew. Way too much food. Best of all, it was walking distance from our hotel room. And since our dog was sleeping after many fantastic doggy adventures, we did not worry about meandering back.
From the Pismo Beach pier, we saw the most amazing thing. A half moon was out. There were few extra lights, so you could see the stars and the moon shining on the water. There on the beach, 1000’s of plovers huddled into a large tightly packed mass. Standing the surfline, they moved back and forth with the water. Don’t know what they were doing. I can’t believe there was enough food for that many birds in such a tight packed mass. And they could not have been sleeping because they kept running back and forth, in and out, of the water. Someone came over and shined a flashlight at the mass, the birds flew into the sky, went down the beach about 50 feet, and huddled back into a pack. Felt lucky to see the sight.