|Monarch nectaring on seaside goldenrod, trying|
to avoid today's strong winds.
Dunes occur naturally along the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey, but historically they would shift position periodically due to storms and persistent winds. When humans build along the shore we don't allow the dunes to grow and shift naturally, and therefore it's necessary to replenish beach sands and rebuild the dunes periodically. The last major project in Cape May was begun about 10 years ago. Without the vegetated dunes, many monarchs would be without essential shelter from the wind. Seaside goldenrod grows along the dunes and is a critical food resource for monarchs, as few other native plants on the dunes are still blooming and providing nectar during the late stages of the monarch migration season. Concerned citizens of Cape May Point annually plant new patches of seaside goldenrod on the dunes.
Unfortunately these strong winds meant that some migrating birds and insects would be pushed over the Atlantic waters. Lighter winds are predicted for Monday, and we expect to see monarchs on the move again and birds returning to Cape May and trying to get back on course.