Our town is on the migratory path of the Monarch butterflies and every Fall we see hundreds of them in our neighborhood. But yesterday, the day after a cold front had blown in from the north, we saw this scene in our alley.
The house directly behind ours has a number of low hanging branches on some oak and mesquite trees and the Monarchs used them as a hotel, a campground, a rest stop, whatever. Look closely. You can barely distinguish the butterflies from the leaves in some of the photos. Look also for those who have flown high above the trees. The sky was filled with these beautiful creatures in the early afternoon.
Here is a closeup, glamour shot.
They weigh almost nothing, but there were so many of them that as the breeze would blow, they would lift off and the limbs would rise about three inches higher.
Interestingly, we heard a podcast about the migration just this week. The scientists interviewed said that they now know that the antennae, previously thought to function only for scent and feeding, are used for navigation. When the antennae are painted with black paint, the butterflies become confused and fly in opposite directions. When painted with clear paint, they stay on course.
Personally, I think all those scientists painting butterflies need to be reprimanded. It's impossible to improve on God's beautiful creations!