Monarch butterflies flutter through NJ

CAPE MAY POINT, N.J. - October 6, 2011

It's the most amazing thing. Right now in Cape May County millions of monarch butterflies can be seen fluttering their beautiful orange and black wings as they skip from flower to flower along the shore.

"You could start seeing the Monarchs crossing the Garden State Parkway about four exits up from here and it was like oh, this is going be great and it has been amazing. Everymen we stop it's like confetti in the sky," Dena Steele of Tuxedo Park, New York said.

Southernmost New jersey is a stopover for the Monarchs during their 2,500 mile annual migration from Canada to Mexico.

"It's a nectar stop, a place to tank up, to take on some fat that they'll need during their overwintering period," Dick Walton of the Monarch Monitor Project said.

Imagine these beautiful monarchs weigh less than a paper clip, but somehow manage to have the energy to fly well over 100 miles in a single day.

"These are tiny creatures. They weigh a half a gram; their brains are the size of a poppy seed and somehow this generation knows to undertake this migration," Mark Garland of Monarch Monitoring Project said.

For 30 years volunteers with the Monarch Monitoring Project have been tagging the butterflies that stop here to learn more about them.

"What's the route, what nectar sources they're using, along the way and what areas would be important for us to save for them," field coordinator Louis Zemaitis.

People come from all over to see the monarchs.

"This is my 11th year and we're here for three weeks, four weeks each fall. Just for the monarchs," Patsy Eickelberg of Concord, Massachusetts said.

Residents don't seem to mind all the strangers roaming the streets to see them. They plant gardens to welcome the butterflies.

"We grow the nectar plants, the nectar plants along with the host plants, the milkweeds and things for monarchs," Martie Kennedy of Cape May Point, New Jersey said.

This is peak time to see them before they head on their long, long journey south.

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