There are three sites in San Diego County where monarch butterflies overwinter, one in Grape Street Park in Balboa Park, one in Presidio Park in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and one at the University of California San Diego Coast Site on Azul Street.
Surprisingly I have not been to any of them. Next winter….
Meanwhile, though, over at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, there are two huge milkweed bushes at the entrances to the building. Monarchs, of course, love milkweed. On March 24, the bushes were full of monarch caterpillars, six just in this one picture:
By now those caterpillars probably have eaten every leaf on the plants and are nice and comfortable in their chrysalises. Here’s a fresh chrysalis from last year:
As the chrysalises age, they turn brown.
By Memorial Day the bushes will be full of monarch butterflies, flittering all about. Another picture from last year:
Now, let’s learn how to tell the difference between a male monarch and a female.
Male monarchs have a black spot near the rear of each wing. Females don’t.
Here are two pictures to illustrate. The first picture is a male, the second a female. See the black spots on the male’s wings?
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