Ray Duffy reports:
I had another Northern Pintail sighting this evening at DeKorte. The bird was in the shorebird pool swimming by the first floating dock.
It was with a group of mallards. I'm not sure if it's the same bird as last week, it's possible it is going through a serious molt, but this one's head was much tanner and didn't seem to have any trace of neck stripes.
I also had a Short-billed Dowitcher in the middle of the phrag islands by the boardwalk. (Thanks, Ray!)
We had two more Variegated Fritillaries (one is pictured above) at DeKorte today — at Jill's Garden — as well as Black Swallowtail, Wild Indigo Duskywing (below), Monarch, Viceroy, Silver-spotted Skipper, Red Admiral and the usual sulphurs and Cabbage Whites.
Let's hope they stick around, and their buddies join them, for Butterfly Day on Sunday, July 24. It's free and family-friendly, and it runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On Monday, this blog gave a tip of the hat here to the volunteers who recently removed the nasty, invasive Mile-a-Minute Weed at Skeetkill Creek Marsh.
By way of update, the head of the NJMC's Natural Resources Department, Dr. Ross Feltes, writes:
Mile-a-minute vine (MAM) is an invasive species that has become a significant problem for upland areas in the northeast U.S. and in the Meadowlands in particular.
Our Natural Resources staff have been working with N.J. Dept of Agriculture on biological control of this species. In recent years beetle larvae (photo above) have been released at Losen Slote and then Mill Creek Marsh for this purpose. The beetles eat only Mile-a-Minute.
According to Mark Mayer of NJDA, the beetles should be throughout the District in about three years and in five to 10 years MAM should no longer be a significant problem here.
Mike Newhouse and Gabrielle Bennett-Meany of the NJMC's Natural Resources staff have been assessing the activity of these beetles on MAM at sites as they conduct other studies and monitoring.
I asked them to stop at the Trust’s Skeetkill Marsh site Wednesday. They noted a conspicuous presence of the beetles on MAM. Though still present over many of the upland areas of the site, in their opinion the extent of MAM was much reduced relative to last year. [Thanks in part, no doubt, to the efforts of the volunteers.]
To be effective, it is necessary for the beetle population to grow at a site over successive years.
More on the beetles and Mile-a-Minute here.
We have been getting Least Terns and Forster's Terns (including juvenile Forster's Terns) the past couple of days.
The Least Terns are on the state's endangered list. Link is here.