I’ve always been a fan of nature programs on TV. Usually, whatever exotic and amazing type of place they show you, it is always far away on some other continent. But right here in the Bay Area, not far away at all, is the wonderful sight of thousands of wintering monarch butterflies. The butterflies tend to prefer groves of eucalyptus trees and have some favorite spots along the coast where the weather is mildest. One of the best places is in Santa Cruz at Natural Bridges State Beach. There is a sheltered grove just back from the beach. Some years there are up to 200,000 monarch butterflies spending the winter. It’s an experience as beautiful and “exotic” as anything you’ll get in places like the Amazon or Borneo. It wouldn’t be winter in San Francisco without that little excursion down to Santa Cruz.