We saw the coolest thing ever!
Loads of Monarch Butterflies! They over-winter in milder climates and just south of us an 1/2 hour to an hour or so is one of their main locations.
A docent from Monarch Grove Sanctuary mentioned that there were about 4000 there that day. The volunteers - at least two of them - go out in the morning one day a week and count. I asked how they estimate, and they try to count one cluster and then extrapolate from that. I guess that's about as good a way as possible!
The two pics above are two different trees and give an overall view of the butterflies hanging out... literally ;)
They seemed to be hanging on the pines mostly, but above, they are hanging on moss. I like the shape they make when doing that. At this point, the sun was shining on the moss, so the butterflies started opening their wings, and a few were fluttering about. It was only about 50 degrees, so it was colder than they would have liked, and they pretty much stayed huddled up together.
This is an image of them with their wings still closed up. The sun had just started shining on them minutes before and probably wasn't going to say on them much more than a few minutes. To the naked eye, they really looked like dead leaves - but hanging from a pine... confusing if you know what pines are like and didn't know there were butterflies there.
While at Monarch Grove Sanctuary, we also spotted...
One Black-tailed Deer
One Red-shouldered Hawk (actually, I think I was the only one to see it)
One Yellow-rumped Warbler
At least one Townsend's Warbler... I'm not sure if this guy is the same as the one we saw a few minutes earlier and couldn't get in a picture.
And of course, the crows, gulls, and the lone Red-tailed Hawk I posted about on Monday.