Somehow my wife and I ended up on a “Funny Looking Animals & Epic Insect Migration” tour on our way home from the Central Coast yesterday.
The day started with yet another visit to the elephant seals just north of San Simeon (for more on elephant seals, and why you need to go see them, click here.)
Moving on, we traveled south to the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, where hundreds of thousands of Monarch butterflies migrate each year. Learn more about the grove here.
Our tour concluded at OstrichLand USA in Solvang. $5 buys you entrance into OstrichLand and a bowl of food, which you hold while a dozen creepy ostriches peck violently in your personal space. Watch your fingers. Everything you ever wanted to know about OstrichLand can be found here.
Have you been on any odd, spontaneous tours lately? If so, tell me about it.
I’m not gonna lie, Ostriches freak me out a bit. They’re so aggressive and pre-historic looking. But I’m not a hater of anything in the animal kingdom, in fact I Love animals and all wild life. I’d love to take this little tour and see the Elephant Seals. They look awesome.
I’m from the East coast, we don’t have anything that cool and exotic?
Is it the long neck? The huge eyes? The oddly shaped body? The two toes, one with a gigantic nail? Whatever it is, I completely agree! Ostriches are kind of freaky looking.
Hey, the East coast has NYC, a city that practically defined cool and exotic.
Yeah, NYC makes Ostriches look pretty normal. Haha!
I live near St. Marks Wildlife Refuge and last year I helped them tag monarchs there. They are such beautiful and delicate creatures.
Very interesting! How exactly do you tag a butterfly? Would you happen to know how scientists estimate population numbers?
They had small plastic clips that went on their wings, unfortunately, as a volunteer I simply caught the butterflies and handed them over to the pros for tagging. There is actually a formula for population estimate that I learned a couple years back while tagging terrapin turtles at St. George. It’s N=MC/R where…..
N = Estimate of total population size
M = Total number of animals captured and marked on the first visit
C = Total number of animals captured on the second visit
R = Number of animals captured on the first visit that were then recaptured on the second visit
Wikipedia believe it or not does a good job of explaining it (that’s where I got what the variables stand for, I had forgotten what each stood for)
I’m a biology/ ecology addict if you didn’t notice lol
I’m always curious how you would determine your initial numbers for “N.” It seems arbitrary to me, but science has never been my forte.
How do you get involved with tagging? It sounds really fascinating!
I never knew Monarchs fed on Eucalyptus. Not many creatures do. I guess if you like Eucalyptus the I-5 corridor is the perfect migration path. I killed probably ten thousand Monarchs with my car in 2004, worse than a dust storm those beautiful bastards.
Creepy ostriches, indeed.
I don’t believe they feed on eucalyptus. They prefer milkweed, from what I understand. When you say you killed probably ten thousand Monarchs with your car in 2004, did you use the N=MC/R formula above to determine that number?
What do you mean science has never been your forte? You go out of your way to explore the muddy, windy, cold, wet and stinky. You must do that just to get a glimpse of god and a great physique? You don’t have to have a PhD to be a scientist, that’s just how you get paid to be one.
OK then, I’m a scientist. You as well. We can be scientist buddies, out conducting scientific experiments with our scientific equipment, perhaps stimulating our scientific minds with scientific debate.
I feel so distinguished at the moment.
Just ask around at local wildlife refugees or universities. I’m a marine biology fanatic so I ask around at the local marine lab. And I agree with Tim O’Brian, you definitely are a scientist. I define a scientist as someone who follows there curiosity and you certainly do!
What a great collection of photos, from the different places that you have gone to.
I love those seals, what a great shot. 🙂
They really are a blast to watch!
There is a tiny butterfly conservatory in Key West that is definitely worth stopping at when you’re on the island.
And great captions Eric!
Sounds pretty cool!
Hehe, what a great tour! Looks like you had beautiful weather too. Fabulous photos! One of my memorable, but not so spontaneous, tours was to the Sam Adams Brewery here in Boston, New Year’s Eve before last 🙂 Great tasters at the end 🙂
Now that sounds like a fun tour!
Whoa. That ostrich’s eye is penetrating through the screen *shudder*
No odd, spontaneous tours for me! I’ll live vicariously through you =P
Ostrich toes (all four of them, total) are even creepier!
Haha .. ew.
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