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Monarch butterflies of Santa Cruz

Monarch butterflies of Santa Cruz.
Notes by J. Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Santa Cruz State Parks

Big Basin State Park: The 11-mile Berry Creek Falls Loop Trail may be the finest day hike in California. Includes 3 delicious waterfalls, loads of wildflowers, banana slugs, and California newts, as well as marvelous forests.
Natural Bridges State Park: Glorious tide pools. Monarch butterfly paradise.
Other Santa Cruz State Parks.

Places to view monarch butterflies in the Santa Cruz area

The following sequence of the locations is convenient for a 'butterfly crawl':

Natural Bridges State Park.
Usually the most reliable place to see monarchs. This eucalyptus grove is in a hollow that provides some protection for the butterflies from the winter gales. Sadly, considerable non-native ivy is being allowed to grow in this grove, and several eucalyptus have been strangled or are in process of being strangled by the ivy. A state park butterfly contact [who is advised by monarch biologist as well as native plant experts] has said that the ivy flowers provide nourishment to the butterflies and so the ivy remains, despite resulting reduction of habitat.
Light House Fields eucalyptus grove by Pelton Avenue.
Also a good place to see monarchs, especially when the eucalyptus flowers are blooming. Look for them roosting up in the cypress. We saw roughly 6000 roosting in November 2004.
Medar Street by the Jewish cemetery.
We saw a few flying in November 2004.
Seabright and East Branciforte.
14th Avenue in Twin Lakes.
Moran Lake at 26th Avenue.
We saw more than 4000 in November 2004.
Clare's Street across from the Capitola library.
Tagged monarchs from the San Juaquin Valley have been found here.

Want more butterflies?

Want more butterflies? Plant milkweed in your yard.

See also these pages