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Monarch Butterflies Make Trek through the Lowcountry

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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Monarch butterfly in the Lowcountry islands of South Carolina
Monarch butterflies migrate through South Carolina each fall on the Lowcountry islands.

Be on the lookout. In the fall, Monarch butterflies make their annual mad dash across North America to Mexico and the Caribbean islands, stopping along the Lowcountry beaches to juice up on nectar.

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.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.