If you're visiting the coast this fall, don't be alarmed if you see hundreds of the spectacular orange and black insects descend on some unsuspecting autumn-flowering plant. These guys are into communal roosting, which makes for a great show for nature lovers who happen to catch the act.
Monarchs have a wingspan the size of a baseball and cruise along flapping only when necessary, conserving energy for the long flight south. Late October to early November is the peak of the migration.
Although they tend to gather on the southwest of the islands, they also have been known to travel through the Midlands and Upstate. This time of year, their preferred roosting sites are groundsel trees that are blooming and loaded with lip-smacking nectar.
You can follow their progress or report any you see at the Journey North website, an Internet tracker of monarch butterfly migrations. Click here to check it out.