Daily Archives: August 14, 2014

Our Bergenite Column: Butterflies Abound

IMG_2646Jim Wright, who keeps this blog for the Meadowlands Commission, also writes a twice-monthly column for the South Bergenite. His latest is on the continuing butterfly season and the wonderful Kearny Butterfly Garden:

The Meadowlands Commission’s Fifth Annual Butterfly Day at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst in late July was a big hit. More than 700 people — mostly families — enjoyed watching and learning about nearly 20 species of these graceful creatures.

But butterfly season didn’t end with Butterfly Day. DeKorte Park is still getting a nice variety of species daily — including a mourning cloak that magically appeared the morning after the event. (Perhaps it marked the wrong date on the calendar.)

Last week, toward the end of a bird walk at DeKorte Park, a nature group stopped by Jill’s Garden to see what was fluttering about.

The short answer was: quite a lot in a short amount of time. In a matter of minutes, we saw a red admiral, eastern tiger swallowtail, black swallowtail, silver-spotted skipper, broad-winged skipper, Peck’s skipper and monarchs, as well as an over-caffeinated clear-wing moth.

The monarchs were an especially welcome sight, as their populations have been in steep decline in recent years due to habitat loss. (Hint: Please plant more milkweed in your garden.)

Overall, this year has been an unpredictable one for butterflies.  The number of species seems to be up, but the numbers of butterflies themselves appear a bit lower.

Some butterfly aficionados believe the season is later this year because of our long and cold winter, so perhaps the numbers will pick up.

But you don’t have to visit DeKorte to see wonderful butterflies and clear-wing moths nearby.

The Kearny Butterfly Garden, at 475  Passaic Avenue (part of the town’s string of green space along the Passaic River) is a delightful mix of butterfly-friendly milkweed, other native plants and butterfly bushes — those big flowery plants that live up to their name. Continue reading

CONTEST: Guess When the Pelican Will Leave

The Meadowlands Commission is pleased to announce the Pelican Challenge.

An American White Pelican has been seen on DeKorte Park’s Saw Mill Creek mudflats for 39 days in a row. The person who correctly predicts the last day the pelican will be seen will win an NJMC pontoon boat ride for two.

To enter, just email the NJMC’s Jim Wright (jim.wright (at) njmeadowlands.gov) with the last date you think the pelican will be seen. The winning date will be determined by when the bird goes unreported on eBird for three consecutive days. (If you have a better idea, e-mail Jim as well.)

The contest is free, and the NJMC’s pontoon boat rides are especially outstanding in late August and September.  If the pelican is still around after pontoon boat season ends, the winning trip can be taken in spring 2015. More on NJMC pontoon boat rides here.

The pelican has been here so long that it now has a name: George, after the famous American crime novelist George Pelecanos. More on George Pelecanos here. More on American White Pelicans here.

We have decided that it will save time if everyone asks “Did you see George today?” instead of “Did you see the American White Pelican today?” But we digress….

Please enter and join the fun. You must enter by 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 15 to be eligible. One entry person, but all family members may enter individually.

And yes, George has been seen today.