A Few Backyard Moths and a Damselfly

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Got out the moth lights the other night to remind myself of all the cool little nighttime critters we share this planet with. Here's some of what the lights attracted.

National Moth Week starts tonight, so maybe I'll have to get the moth lights out again.

Moth Night in the Meadowlands (which Don Torino of Bergen County and I started in 2012 in conjunction with the first National Moth Week) is Monday! Hope to see you there.

Fell House Moth Night is Sunday, July 31, the final night of nine-night National Moth Week. (Hope to see you there, too.)

Link is here.

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DeKorte Park Butterflies & Clear-winged Moth

IMG_0179Sorry I have to miss the annual Butterfly Day at DeKorte Park this year for the first time  -- Don Torino of Bergen County Audubon Society and I created the event seven years ago, and it has been growing every year since.

Earlier this week, I did a quick trip to DeKorte to see what was around -- and promptly saw a Snowberry Clear-winged Moth, a couple of Monarchs, a Silver-spotted Skipper and a Comma.
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Franklin Clove Video by Jim Longo

For folks who love local history in general and High Mountain in particular, the sudden passing of Franklin Lakes and Wyckoff historian Jim Longo last month came as a shock and great loss.

Jim used to lead an annual walk to the Franklin Clove, and Jim graciously took me to the Franklin Clove a couple of times when I was researching High Mountain.

On one of our walks, Jim gave me a copy of the video he and his daughter Lauren did about Franklin Clove several years ago. With the Longo family's permission, I have posted it on YouTube so more people can learn about the Clove -- and see and hear Jim in action.

A terrific guy in all ways. (a post I wrote about Jim last month is here.)

I hope to lead a walk to the Clove in Jim's memory in the fall.


Lake Tappan Sunset

DSCN9096-001Went on a Moon Walk with Bergen SWAN the other night at Lake Tappan (special permit required), and caught the last vestiges of a setting sun before we walked along the edge of the reservoir.

Birding wasn't great (it was dusk and night-time after all), but I may have had a first --  possibly heard a Barn Owl calling.

I saw quite a lot of Barn Owls when I worked in the Meadowlands, but I'd never heard one.

Before the walk, SWAN intern John Adriance played the call for the participants, and what we hard sure sounded like it.

You can hear a Barn Owl call and other common owl calls here.


Celery Farm Pix by Sandee Faust

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Sandee Faust, a friend of this blog, passed along some photos of  classic Celery Farm summer sights -- a Green Frog (I think), a Spicebush Swallowtail (taken on Saturday's Butterfly Walk), and a Milkweed Bug (above).

As with the Monarchs that use the Common Milkweed as a host plant, the Milkweed Bugs taste terrible to any bird that tries to eat them.
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Bluebird Box Mystery Answered

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On Monday, I asked why the above bluebird nesting box was unusual.

Tough question, and as with almost any question involving bluebirds around here, the answer also involves Celery Farm Marsh Warden Emeritus Stiles Thomas.

The bluebird box was built in 1950s from plans drawn up by Stiles, and it even had Stiles' "brand" on the side of it.

Inside was an instruction sheet explaining where and how to place the nesting box, along with this warning:

"DO NOT UNDER [ANY] CIRCUMSTANCES ALLOW ENGLISH SPARROWS TO NEST IN THE BLUEBIRD HOUSE.

"You'll have to use ingenuity to defeat them. If removing their nests doesn't work, plug up the entrance hole for a few days. Another successful method is to place house with bottom just three feet from the ground. English sparrows don't normally nest this close to the ground. Bluebirds do."

NOTE: Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Stiles was referring to the bottom of the bluebird box, and not any other kind of bottom.

Congrats to Barbara Dilger for coming up with a mostly correct answer. 

(The box was on the ground, by he way, because it has never been used. There's a concern that some of the old boards made from manmade materials won't stand up well to the weather.)

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A Walk at Mill Creek Marsh

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Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus is one of my favorite places to visit, the weather yesterday was not as oppressively muggy as it has been, and Bergen County Audubon was sponsoring a walk there.  Who could  pass that up?

It was a great time to catch up on old friends and the various summer birds that MCM attracts -- including Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and a cameo appearance by a Peregrine Falcon.

Oh, and the Marsh Wrens were sure calling loud and clear, everywhere we went.
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Pokemon GO Comes to the Celery Farm

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If you've been seeing more young folks in the Celery Farm recently, it's because there are several Pokemon GO "Poke Stops" there, as noted in this shot of the Pokemon GO app on my iPhone in he Celery Farm.  I encountered three Pokemon between the entrance and the Spillway.

If any Pokemon GO players come across this post and are thinking of visiting the Celery Farm, please be advised that there are poison ivy and ticks, so please stay on the trails -- and look up once in a while and enjoy the Celery Farm.

There's lots of awesome nature to behold.

Meanwhile, I have to post my sighting to ePokemon.org.  (Just kidding.) (Thanks, Annabel, for getting me started.)


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This Morning's Butterfly Search

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Had a nice group of butterfly hounds for the annual Tom Burr DSCN0022
Memorial Butterfly Walk this morning -- and a few butterflies and a Hummingbird Clear-winged Moth as well in what has not been a good year so far for butterflies.

Highlights included that awesome daytime moth, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail (above, photo for ID purposes), Eastern Tailed-blue and Red Admiral. Hope to post better pix by others later.

Also this mystery bug at right.

Thanks to all who participated!
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