Breathtaking pictures show beautiful orange glow as millions of butterflies congregate after migration
Judging by these images, if you’re a butterfly this is clearly the place to be.
Clinging to trees in their millions and creating a wonderful orange glow as they fly into the air on mass, these beautiful monarch butterflies are a spectacular sight.
The breathtaking pictures were taken at special Monarch Butterfly reserves in Rosario and Sierra Chincua in Mexico. .
The reserves are home to up to a billion migrating butterflies each year after they have made their annual journey from Canada and North America in a 3000-mile trip to the warmer climes of Mexico between October and March.
Following the migration the butterflies congregate thickly on pine trees to conserve heat.
They open their wings to catch the sun’s warming rays before taking flight in their millions.
With a wing span of four inches, the monarch butterfly is known for its lengthy migration and is the only butterfly species to make annual north-south migrations like many bird species do.
The monarch migrates from North America to Central Mexico and back again each year but with just a two-month life span it takes four generations to complete the journey.
These stunning shots were taken by wildlife photographer Sylvain Cordier.
He gained access to the extraordinary phenomenon and captured these incredible images during a half an hour slot under the watchful eye two rangers.
The photographer, from Alsace in France, said: “Why they decide to hibernate in the cold mountains is a mystery.
“The altitude is 3000 metres. They roost on branches of pine trees and can stay looking dead like that for months.
“It’s very cold up there but when the days start to warm up the sun hit the first few layers of butterflies and they begin to move.
“They usually fly away maybe to find some flowers and some water to drink.
“This year the population was estimated around 50 to 60 million.
“When a danger or presumed danger arrives, the butterflies fall down on the ground in big numbers. It’s a kind of self defence.
“When that happens you have to be lucky to have the right lens to capture the myriad of butterflies falling down in a matter of seconds.”