Fall for 30A of Mice and Monarchs

October 09, 2013  |   Blog   |     |   0 Comment

It’s October. Some of our earliest “Snowbirds” aren’t birds or even Canadians for that matter. They are the Fall Monarchs. These butterflies must vacate the north before they’re trapped by the cold. We’re already seeing them arrive here in Northwest Florida. The Fall Monarchs emerge as adults at the end of summer in the north and aren’t adapted to handle the cold temperatures and change in moisture. For these late bloomers, their lives are different from earlier broods. Instead of mating and laying eggs, they focus all their energy into migrating 2,000 miles south to central Mexico. These travelers drink nectar and catch warm gulf air currents to allow them to soar instead of using powered flight. Some hardier ones may winter in South Walton, while others celebrate fall with us here on the coast and move on.

Fall Fun in South Walton Florida

Fall Fun in South Walton Florida

October 18, 2013: Monarch Butterflies at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do. Ranger Tammy of Topsail Hill State Park will present the amazing life of the Monarch butterfly October 18, 2pm-3pm. The event finishes with a craft project where attendees make their own butterfly. This program is great for all ages, so gather in the Clubhouse and help us celebrate these regal butterflies. Event takes place at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A. The program is free with the standard park admission of $6.00 entry per vehicle.

October 11, 2013: Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse Program at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

The migration of the Monarch butterfly is just one reason to enjoy the Emerald Coast during the fall. Another adorable creature to celebrate is resident uniquely to our area – the Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse. This cute little fellow comes out at night and lives in our South Walton dunes. It burrows and excavates nests within the dunes’ sand among sea oats and grasses.
In this program, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park teaches how they track these endangered mice and how we can ensure these dune inhabitants survive and thrive. South Walton is blessed to have coastal dune lakes beyond compare, and with them come a fragile ecosystem. The critical habitat for the Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse is unique to 12.6 miles of coast in Walton and Bay Counties. These nocturnal mice have survived thousands of years since barrier islands were formed. Their continued existence depends largely on our conservation of a healthy dunes ecosystem.
Event takes place at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A. The program is free with the standard park admission of $6.00 entry per vehicle.

November 9-10, 2013: Flutterby Children’s Arts Festival

Another event that celebrates the migration of butterflies through South Walton is the Flutterby Children’s Arts Festival in Rosemary Beach. This year the festival will be open from 10am-4pm on November 9th and 10th. A special feature planned for the festival is “Cottages for Kids”, a collection of designer playhouses. The event has become known for its live music, storytelling, face painting, hula hooping, and animal encounters. For the artist in all of us, there will be street and mural painting. On hand will be various artists and exhibitors. One of the exhibitors is a master gardener will be on hand to teach kids how to build their own butterfly garden. Children will have the opportunity to craft their own butterfly wings, create artwork, and take home a butterfly plant. The festival is free and open to the public. However, some of the activities will require $1 tickets. You can get more information by calling the Cultural Arts Alliance at 850-622-5970.

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