We knew they were coming; we all knew they were coming, but we could have no idea just how many Monarchs would be at Cape May Point by Saturday evening. It all started with a wonderful flight of Monarchs, all drifting south to the point, then west along the dunes.
By Saturday lunchtime, reports of 'roosts' were reaching the Hawkwatch Platform. In fact, these were insects gathering at rich food sources which, at this time of the year, often means Common Ivy - a plant which bears flowers in autumn and fruit in late winter.
As the sun started to lower in the western sky, there was the opportunity for some fun with backlit individuals...
...then backlit groups.
...then to this ornamental privet...
06:30 Sunday morning saw people gathering in Stites Avenue again and even as the first light cut across the point, butterflies were getting restless and were itching to get going.
By 07:00 the sun was hitting the tree tops and wings were beginning to vibrate as flight muscles were warmed.
That's it. Just time to add that the comments uttered at the time were all part of the occasion; Michael O'Brien: "No rarity is better than a migration event". Vince Elia: "I'm so speechless, I can't stop talking!". And I know that Vince was speechless because I heard him telling everyone!