Monarch Hatching Pix, including Empty Chrysalis

Thanks to Julie McCall, I was able to monitor the progress of a Monarch chrysalis after Julie had noticed a Monarch caterpillar on a blade of tall grass in the Green Way field on August 24.

I had never realized how a chrysalis changed in appearance, or how delicate it was -- a point driven home after the butterfly hatched on Sept. 17. (Photo above)

Here are some pix that Julie and I took over the past few weeks. I hope they are in order. :- )

(Thank you, Julie!)




Odd Barred Owl Behavior?

About a year and a half ago, Stiles Thomas installed an Eastern Bluebird nesting box for a friend in Gardiner, NY.  Bluebirds have nested successfully there the past two springs.

On Saturday, the box had a different visitor  -- a young Barred Owl that hunted from atop the box in broad daylight for a good 10 minutes.

Seems a bit unusual, no?  (A  big thank you to Philip Jones for the photo above.)

Next Month: Meadowlands Birding Festival

Save the date:  The Meadowlands Birding Festival is Saturday, Oct. 7. It's free, and it features some pretty cool walks and talks. Keynote speaker is Richard Crossley. 

Ron Shields and I will be giving a presentation tied to the fifth anniversary of Schiffer Books' publication of "The Nature of the Meadowlands," the large-format, photo-driven book about the region's environmental comeback that I did with a huge help from Ron and Marco Van Brabant.

I'll talk a bit about the book, and Ron will talk about some of the amazing bird photos he's taken in the Meadowlands, and how he got them.

A full schedule is here.

Registration is here.



The Celery Farm Monarch Hatched!

Thanks to Julie McCall, who discovered a Monarch caterpillar on a blade of tall grass at the Celery Farm, a few of us have been monitoring a Monarch butterfly chrysalis there since late August.

On Sunday, the Monarch hatched -- I missed the butterfly leaving the chrysalis by a minute or two, but I hung around for a half-hour while it dried its wings.

Eventually, it climbed onto the chrysalis, above.

When I returned today, I did not see any Monarchs. It appeared as though someone left out some water or sugar water out for the newbie. Very sweet of them.

I will try to post a few more pix, including some by Julie, later this week.   (Thanks, Julie!)

'Nature of The Meadowlands' in The Record

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An article about "Jersey Icons"by John Ensslin in The Record today  looks at the Meadowlands' remarkable environmental comeback -- including a reference to my book "The Nature of the Meadowlands," regarding the huge NJ Turnpike crash in East Rutherford back in 1973.

The lethal crash, which resulted from a long-burning Meadowlands landfill fire, an inverted air mass, and steam discharged from a PSE&G plant, helped put an end to persistent landfill fires nationwide. 

The photo above is the smog from the fire.

The link is here.

Monday Morning Mystery 091817

This misplaced plant is everywhere these days, and spreading faster than Garlic Mustard. I have heard that it is native, but it seems like it is taking over.

I took this photo at High Mountain, but the plant is all over Fred's Meadow at the Celery Farm as well. I think it likes bright sunlight.

What is it?


A Hike to the Summit of High Mountain

Earlier this week, I did a quick trek to the summit of High Mountain from Reservoir Drive via the Red Trail and Yellow Trail.

(If you hustle,  you can make the steep hike to the summit in half an hour.)

The leaves were just starting to change, and hickory nuts and acorns were everywhere -- a paradise for squirrels and chipmunks.

Just bring plenty of water because it is a workout, wear hiking boots because it's rocky, and bring a cellphone in case you get lost.


Cool National Article on High Mt. Bats

The Nature Conservancy's Cool Green Science Blog has a great new article about the rare bats in the High Mountain Park Preserve and the efforts by William Paterson University Professor Lance Risley and his students to find out more about them and the other  species of bats found there.

I was on hand for some the research -- it was pretty nifty.

The article by Lisa Feldkamp is a great read, and I love the headline, too:

Threatened Bats Find a
Slice of Paradise in New Jersey

High Mountain, slice of paradise. What's not to love?

The link is here.

NYC Raptor Fest This Weekend -- w/Pic of Alice

The NYC Urban Park Rangers are sponsoring a Raptor Fest from noon to 3 p.m. in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx this weekend, and one of the displays will feature a photo of Alice the Bald Eagle by Alice Leurck. How neat is that?

(Alice the eagle was raised in the Bronx in 2004 and nested for many years in Ridgefield Park. Alice Leurck took the first photos of the eagle and the transmitter on her back, which ultimately led to the realization that she was one of the eagles raised and released in Inwood Park.)

The event, free to the public, will include live demonstrations, a raptor viewing area, and education/activity tables.

Activities are provided by the Urban Park Rangers, live flying demonstrations by Talons!, and static animal displays by Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation.

More about the festival here.

Jewelweed Thriving at the Celery Farm

Next time you head down Parnell's Path, check out the Jewelweed growing amid the Common Phragmites.

The phrags are a nasty invasive but they do protect the Jewelweed from the ravages of the voracious deer.

The "poppers" are popping now, so check 'em out and touch a pod or two -- even if the plant is sometimes called a Touch-me-not.

Hummingbirds love it. And it's good for Poison Ivy, too.  Is there a cooler plant in the Celery Farm?