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Sunrise Butterflys
 
There is more than one place in Michigan where the monarch butterflys gather to migrate.
 
While the gathering at Stonington Point is known and monitored, the gathering at Tawas Point is relatively unknown.  The photograph was taken there by a local artist.

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Monarch Butterfly Migration

For many years the DNR received reports of strange twisting clouds high above Lake Michigan called in by folks on color tours around the Leelanau peninsula.  The reports were generally dismissed as having no validity.  Then the age of digital cameras and hand-held video arrived.  It was discovered that the unusual clouds were real and that they were actually enormous flocks of Monarch butterflys.

Au Sable River Highbanks

Every autumn during the last two weeks of August and the first two weeks of September the Monarchs gather at Stonington Point just east of Escanaba and Gladstone.  Here the wait until the winds are right for the migration flight south across Lake Michigan, Green Bay and on to their winter grounds in Mexico.


Usually short-lived, this generation, known as the Methuselah generation, will live long enough to make the entire Monarch migration to Mexico.  After that, they return to their normal life cycle.

Stonington Point is an easy hike from the parking area.  There is an abandoned lighthouse and picnic areas.