Butterfly Beach

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It’s Monarch mania on the peninsula! Thousands of butterflies have been spotted along the beach, in home and community gardens and local parks over the past few weeks as the butterflies make their way south for their annual migration.

Monarch butterflies may appear delicate, but each year, these creatures travel thousands of miles to Mexico to escape the north before the winter cold sets in, according to NYC Parks. Monarchs begin their migration in September and travel for 30 to 45 days. They start east of the Rockaway Mountains and as far north as Canada, and head to Michoacan, in central Mexico. A monarch from New York will travel as far as  2,100 miles, at an average of 50 miles a day to reach their destination by the end of October.

Now is the peak of their migration season and some believe the increase around the peninsula is due to the new dune system on the beach. The dunes have allowed goldenrod to grow, a favorite food of monarchs. They’re aiming to fatten up before arriving in Mexico, where they’ll hibernate for a four-month period, before coming out to mate in March and make their return trip to the U.S.

Photo by Katie McFadden

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