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Here’s how to get up close to thousands of monarch butterflies along the Monterey County coast

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Here’s how to get up close to thousands of monarch butterflies along the Monterey County coast

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MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) – Every fall, monarch butterflies travel to Monterey County to weather the colder months before moving into mating season.

There’s still time to see them in 2022, but only until mid-February. We’ve got the tips you need to know to get the best experience.

Nestled along the Monterey Coast, it’s a natural beauty you’ll only be able to see for a few more weeks this year. But to witness it, you have to look up.

“Some years we have thousands and other years last year it was zero, the year before it was 650 and the year before it was 800,” said Stephanie Turcotte. Edenholm, a professor at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. “Every year is different. This year we were lucky to have 14,000.”

The last count in early January was 9,511 to be exact.

VIDEO: Monarch butterflies are returning in large numbers to California after nearly disappearing last year

Around September, monarchs make their annual trip to Monterey County and the Pacific Grove Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary due to the ideal conditions for these butterflies.

These conditions include temperature, variety of trees, protection from the elements, humidity and abundant sunlight.

They huddled together throughout the winter, but when ABC7 reporter Dustin Dorsey left, he got some incredible sights.

“I encourage people to come and visit us, it’s a great time ahead,” Edenholm said. “This time of year we sometimes have hundreds of Monarchs suddenly leaving a tree and flying. So if you come you might be able to witness something like that. It’s quite magical.”

People come from all over the world to visit the monarchs of Pacific Grove. Those we spoke with were there for the first time.

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“I’m very impressed,” said Hilmar resident Ann Steffen. “It’s a beautiful place just to walk around, but just seeing the butterflies here makes it extra special.”

“It’s spectacular,” said San Francisco resident Jeannie Psomas. “It’s totally unique and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. California is so spectacular and you can connect with nature. We can connect on a so much deeper level to our environment and what surrounds us. It’s really good to have that connection.”

VIDEO: A bus driver raises monarch butterflies during the COVID-19 pandemic

But the time to make a connection with these beautiful butterflies will only last a few weeks before they leave for the mating season.

The best time to go is noon on the hottest days. Butterflies don’t like to leave their clusters if the weather is below 55 degrees. When the temperatures are good and the sun is up, cold-blooded creatures seek the sun at the lower end of the grove. This is the best time to see the activity. Don’t forget to bring a camera or binoculars!

If you’ve never visited and seen butterflies, now is the time.

“Next year we don’t know how many we will have,” Edenholm said. “So I encourage, if you’re interested and able to come, come before mid-February. Come see the monarchs.”

Edenholm said you can do your part to help monarch butterflies by planting native milkweed and nectar sources.

And the next time you’re in Pacific Grove, enjoy some zen monarch time in Monterey County.

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Here’s how to get up close to thousands of monarch butterflies along the Monterey County coast

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