Wednesday, March 01, 2006

¡Mariposa Monarcha!

I’m not going to try to explain the complexity of the monarch butterfly migration, or animal migration in general. Its way to deep for me. If you’d like more info, follow this link:

All I can tell you is that I saw an IMAX movie when I was younger, and it chronicled for a bit the migration of these insects into México. Ever since seeing that movie, I have wanted to see this migration site. I think Keith pretty much summed our trip to the Butterfly Sanctuary – it wasn’t all that excited. I’m not sure if it was because Keith and Pat didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves, or if it was because my original grand plans of taking a horseback ride up the mountains to the sanctuary Sierra Chinca were foiled, or if it was because I was in an inconsolable mood, or what. I guess though, I got to cross something off my life’s to do list, so I should have enjoyed it more.

I really couldn’t get a great picture of the Monarchs in the trees because the light was pretty low, and when they are grouped together like that they really don’t move a whole lot either, and the underside of their wings is pretty drab. But you could look up and see clumps and globs of butterflies just chillin in the trees. It would calm down a bit when the sun would go behind a cloud, but as soon as the sun came back out it was a flurry of wings. At one point we could even hear the noise of their wings in the air as millions of mariposas zipped from here to there.

So, despite being a tad bit disappointed, I took a step back from the zillions of people, the trees, the dust, and thought about what it was. And really, it’s incredible. MILLIONS (yes, I said Millions) of butterflies are in these places! There are 12 wintering sites for Monarchs in Mexico – the one we went to visit, El Rosario, is the largest. The recent butterfly count (done by the world wildlife federation) concluded that there were about 6 hectares of monarchs in the sanctuaries. SIX HECTARES! Now, if you’re like me, and have no idea what a hectare is, let me tell you. Six hectares is equal to about 14 acres, which is equivalent to 643,700 square feet. YIKES! Considering how much space a monarch takes up, that really is a lot of area to cover. I am pretty thankful that I got to experience a real natural wonder!

Poor Pat O'Brien! The guy that took our picture was pressing the button so hard that he kept pushing the camera down when he took the pic........Oh well. At least its proof we were here :)

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