Huge Number of Red Crowned Sandhill Cranes (丹
頂鶴) and Beautiful Monarch Butterflies Wintering
in California
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讀萬卷書    行萬里路

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前引長頸,後伸秀腿,黃鶴在歡叫聲中振翅飛翔。

At sunset time in the winter season, many groups of red crowned greater sandhill cranes (丹頂沙丘鶴) are
flying in from various directions to roost on the shallow water at Isenberg Crane Reserve (i.e., Woodbridge
Ecological Reserve) near Lodi in California Central Valley as their wintering location.

We came to this Crane Reserve near sunset time on November 1, 2015 to watch many wintering sandhill
cranes flying in. This location is about one and half hour driving distance from San Francisco Bay area. I set
the destination of my GPS navigator at the junction of Woodbridge Rd. and N. Thornton Rd., Lodi, CA 95242,
then drive west on Woodbridge Rd. for 2 miles to reach the parking lot of the Reserve on the Left (south) side.
Sandhill cranes prefer to stand in the shallow water for roosting at night to avoid the land based predators.
亭亭玉立, 丹頂黃鶴仙姿,神采飄逸。

These red crowned greater sandhill cranes stand up to 5 feet tall with a wingspan of over 7 feet.  These very
vocal birds have an unmistakable honk and gurgling call and engage in intricate “dance” moves for pair bonding.
長風萬里送黃鶴,天空中傳來一陣陣歡快的鶴鳴聲。

In the daytime, these sandhill cranes fly out to nearby farm fields foraging for foods. At sunset time,
many groups of sandhill cranes are flying in from various directions to roost on the shallow water in
this crane reserve.
In addition to sandhill cranes, there are also many other kinds of water birds in this crane reserve.
集合成群,氣勢瀟灑的飛翔隊伍, 遨翔碧空。

Many other water birds flying above this crane reserve.
We arrived at this parking lot about one hour before sunset time. There were no sandhill cranes in sight in the
shallow water area and there were very few people.

But at about half hour before sunset time, many cars, trucks, recreational vehicles and bird watchers arrived
and showed up in this parking lot. Many groups of sandhill cranes also started to fly in from many different  
directions. Such actions lasted for about one hour from half hour before sunset time to about half hour after
sunset. Half hour after sunset, it becomes too dark to take more pictures even though more sandhill cranes
are still flying in.
Two sandhill cranes are descending down to join a group in the shallow water in the crane reserve.
This group has arrived and is descending down to the shallow water below with landing gear down.
夕陽西下,遨翔碧空彩霞隨,成群結隊的黃鶴高飛歸巢。

Many groups of sandhill cranes are flying in from many different directions and distances.
奮飛碧霄而去。

Many other kinds of birds in action at this crane reserve.
When we arrived at this crane reserve about one hour before sunset time, we did see a group of sandhill
cranes dancing and eating something on the nearby dry farm field.
色彩豔麗的帝王斑蝶 (君主斑蝶), 翅膀上有顯眼的黃褐橙色及黑色斑紋,邊緣有兩串
細白點, 非常美麗。

Every winter, 20,000 to 30,000 beautiful Monarch butterflies come to winter by clustering on the branches of
eucalyptus (尤加利 樹) grove in Monarch Grove Sanctuary located at 250 Ridge Rd, Pacific Grove, California
93950.
The number of Monarch butterflies in this Sanctuary usually peak from late November to early
December.

The orange-and-black monarch butterflies are considered the “king” of the butterflies, hence the
name “monarch”.

These Monarch butterflies are hanging very high on very tall trees. At first it is hard to see them, they look like
leaves. I zoomed in using my compact super-zoom camera with 65X optical zoom to get such close up views
of the brilliant colors and the patterns of beautiful Monarch butterflies. To naked eyes and low power
binoculars at ground level, these Monarch butterflies may look very small, almost colorless and unimpressive.
Therefore, it is important to bring high power binoculars, telescopes or super-zoom cameras so that you can
get close up views to enjoy watching these beautiful Monarch butterflies.
Sign of Monarch Grove Sanctuary in Pacific Grove near Monterrey and the famous 17-mile Scenic Drive area.
We came to tour this Monarch butterfly sanctuary on November 4, 2015. The winter migration of Monarch
butterflies to Pacific Grove is so unique and inspiring that Pacific Grove is nicknamed "Butterfly Town, U.S.A."
從牠們身上醒目的橘色、黑色、白色斑紋可以很容易辨認出來。

In August 2015, I was very happy to see one or two beautiful Monarch butterflies in Holmdel Park in New
Jersey as shown on my web page at:

http://
www.shltrip.com/Many_Swallows_in_Holmdel_Park.html

In November, 2015, I was very excited to see thousands of Monarch butterflies wintering in this Monarch
Grove Sanctuary in California Central Coast.
In the Spring, Summer and Autumn seasons, brilliant and beautiful Monarch butterflies migrate north all over
the North America in Canada and USA. But in winter season, Monarch butterflies migrate south to avoid
freezing temperature. Monarch butterflies cannot endure freezing temperature.

Monarchs butterflies east of Rockies migrate south to overwintering sites in Mexico as described in the
following YouTube movies:

https://
www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K6jGW66nF4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adB638SIE1k

But Monarchs butterflies west of Rockies migrate south to overwintering site at this Monarch Grove Sanctuary
in Pacific Grove or other similar sites along California Central Coast areas.
When the temperature is cold, large number of Monarch butterflies cluster and hang from these tree
branches. Their closed wings look like triangular brown leaves.

When the temperature reaches 55 degree F and the  sun warms them, the Monarch butterflies open their
orange wings and fly.
Pacific Grove is one of the special places where Monarch butterflies return every winter. These special places
have a microclimate especially suitable for overwintering Monarch butterflies. Winter temperature here
remains above freezing and stay below 60 degree F. The closed canopy of trees here provides wind
protection and a mix of sunlight and shade. Fog offers moisture and flowers offer nectar.
風情小鎮,得天獨厚的浪漫美麗海岸線,景色令人心曠神怡。

The Ocean View Blvd and the Sunset Drive along the Pacific shore of Pacific Grove are very beautiful, similar
to the famous 17-mile Scenic Drive.
Many pelicans seen from the Ocean View Blvd.
天高任鳥飛,眾多飛鳥在海岸邊歡舞。

Many seabirds seen from Ocean View Blvd.
I enjoyed very much the tour of Isenberg Crane Reserve (i.e., Woodbridge Ecological Reserve) to see many
red crowned sandhill cranes wintering in California Central Valley near Lodi, of the Monarch Grove Sanctuary
to see thousands of beautiful Monarch butterflies wintering in California Central Coast, and of the beautiful
Ocean View Blvd and Sunset Drive along the Pacific shore of Pacific Grove.

Photos of the beautiful and famous 17-mile Scenic Drive between Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach are on my
web page at:

http://
www.shltrip.com/California_Coast.html
I have also seen many sandhill cranes in similar actions in New Mexico, Alaska and Indiana as shown on my
web pages at:


http://
www.shltrip.com/Bosque_Del_Apache.html


http://www.shltrip.com/Go_To_See_Alaska_Part_5_Richardson.html


http://www.shltrip.com/Sand_Hill_Cranes_in_Indiana.html
Beside the Monarch Grove Sanctuary in Pacific Grove, additional locations to see many wintering Monarch
butterflies along California Central Coast are:

Natural Bridges State Beach and Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve at: 2531 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA
95060. The park’s Monarch Grove provides a winter home for over 100,000 monarchs each winter.

Pelton Ave in Santa Cruz: Lighthouse Field State Park at junction of Pelton Ave. & W. Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz,
CA, Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary on the flowering eucalyptus trees at Pelton Ave along the north side of the
field.

San Simeon Natural Preserve at San Simeon, CA 93452 , is also the wintering site for monarch butterfly
populations. San Simeon State Park is located 35 miles north of San Luis Obispo on Highway 1, and 5 miles
south of the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument Visitor Center.

Monarch Butterfly Grove at extreme southern end of the City of Pismo Beach just off Hwy 1. Pismo Beach’s
monarch colony is one of the largest in the nation, hosting an average of 25,000 butterflies over the last five
years. The butterfly grove is located right along Highway 1. You walk in a circle, look at the trees and enjoy
the butterflies.

Goleta Monarch Butterfly Grove, Ellwood Main, 7701 Hollister Avenue, Goleta, CA. East of Santa Barbara,
West of the campus of University of California at Santa Barbara. This is the premier Monarch site in southern
California, with close to 100,000 Monarchs in good years.
仙鶴遨翔碧空的優美風姿。
閑雲野鶴,風雲同路, 自由地翱翔,天空中傳來,一陣陣歡快清脆悠揚的鶴聲。
天高雲淡,成群結隊, 奮飛碧霄而去。
愛侶臨風,朝夕相依,形影不離, 親密無間。
空中不時有大群的野鶴飛過。
碧藍的海,粗獷美麗的的奇岩異石, 和煦的風,在這裏組合得渾然天成,發出種濃烈的
休閑氣氛和浪漫情調。
天然壯麗的海岸線, 充分享受海邊的逍遙風情。
蔚藍太平洋上過來朵朵浪花拍打在礁石上, 觀海浪,賞海景,飛濺的浪花,坐在岸邊聆
聽海濤聲,飽覽海邊風情。
貼著水面,振翅飛翔而去。
The butterflies form dense clusters with each one hanging with its wing down over the one below it to form a
shingle effect. This provides shelter from the rain and warmth for the group. The weight of the cluster help
keeps it from whipping in the wind and dislodging the butterflies. They huddle together in big balls.

Go in the
late morning so you can spot them hanging in the trees, then at about noon time the air temperature
warms up, they start to fly a
round, and when the sunlight hits their wings, they look so bright!  It is better to
go
on a warmer and sunny day as the butterflies will be more active flying around and interesting to watch.
Many seabirds seen from Ocean View Blvd.

There are several pull-out parking lots along the Ocean View Blvd and the Sunset Drive for visitors to park the
cars and to enjoy watching the beautiful scenery.  

The abundant of seabirds seen here means abundant of fish and other sea mammals in the ocean here. From
these parking lots, visitors with powerful binoculars or telescope can also enjoy watching some interesting
wildlife in action very far away on the ocean similar to the feeding frenzy shown on the following two web
pages:

http://
pointlobos.org/blog/fred-brown/swarming-sea-lions


http://www.shltrip.com/California_Coast.html
When I visited Monarch Grove Sanctuary in 2015, there was a portable toilet in the lower part of the Sanctuary
for visitors. In 2017, there is a township proposal to upgrade the Sanctuary facilities including building a new
and better toilet in the Sanctuary.