This past week saw the beginning of what could promise to be one of the greatest monarch butterfly migrations in a long time. The wind was gentle and blowing out of the southwest and south-southwest on most days after Tropical Storm Irene’s passage. At this time of year the monarchs fresh out of their chrysalises are heading south and southwest, into the wind, and following the shoreline. Since before the year 2000 here on eastern Long Island we have seen very little in the way of monarchs come the end of summer.
Hurricane Irene has come and gone. Last year Earl swept up the coast near the end of August with a great deal of hullabaloo. It missed us but did carry away some of Montauk’s valuable ocean beach sand. Irene had decidedly better aim and hit when the tide was high, washing away beaches and dunes from the Rockaways to Montauk Point.