Saturday, July 15, 2006

Results of Fairview Farm and Willowwood Arboretum Field Trip

The NJ Audubon Society "Butterflies and Dragonflies" field trip to Fairview Farm and Willowwood Arboretum in Morris County was a great success today, despite being rained out in the end. We had 10 very engaged participants who made it a joy to lead the trip. Here's a summary of the trip with full lists at the end.

We began the trip in the butterfly garden at Fairview Farm. Among the many species of butterfly plants there are Buddleia (Butterfly Bush), Bergamot, Black-eyed Susan, Coneflower (Echinacea), Joe-pye Weed, and Salvia. We enjoyed close looks at many wonderful species of butterfly including Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (including the black form of the female), Summer Azure, Cabbage White, Delaware Skipper, and a probable Broad-winged Skipper. There were also two types of "hummingbird" moths here: Hummingbird Clearwing and Snowberry Clearwing. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird, an Eastern Bluebird, and many House Wrens were also a nice treat.

We then headed out to the meadows and pond. In the meadow we spotted a Monarch feeding on Butterfly Weed, as well as a distant Great-spangled Fritillary. Wildflowers included Field Chickweed, Queen Anne's Lace, Yarrow, St. John's Wort, Hop Clover, Dogbane, and the find of the day - a splendid Ragged Fringed Orchis. A Ring-necked Pheasant at the bird feeders was a surprise. We also found a really neat beetle on the dogbane, which I researched and found out is actually called a Dogbane Beetle (see pic below). Flitting among the flowers and grasses we found three new butterflies for the day: Pearl Crescent, Eastern Tailed Blue, and Juniper Hairstreak. Juniper Hairstreaks lived up to its name since it was very close to several Eastern Red Cedar trees.

As we got closer to the pond, we started to look at dragonflies and damselflies. I netted a young male Eastern Pondhawk, a Widow Skimmer, and a Prince Baskettail. A male Blue Dasher that was netted yielded an interesting find - sperm packets ready to deposit into a lucky female. Damselflies were noticeably absent, but we did find two. One proved to be a tough ID and we never had a confirmation, but the second was a lovely blue and green Eastern Forktail. The unidentified damselfly was most likely a mature female Eastern Forktail after some research. We observed more dragonflies over the water that we're not cooperative enough to allow me to net them: Black Saddlebags, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Eastern Amberwing, Common Green Darner, and Common Whitetail. Our last catch of the day was a very cooperative Halloween Pennant who was kind enough to pose for pictures on my palm.

We packed our things and headed over to Willowwood Arboretum. We had some nice lunches and then the rains began. Before the rain really hit, we had some time to enjoy the beautiful cottage garden that included many native and non-native species. A few pots of flowering Pitcher Plants were especially interesting. In the cottage garden, we saw another Juniper Hairstreak. A captured Hummingbird Clearwing put on a nice show for us before we let it go. We found a few more wildflowers here including Jewelweed and Tall Meadow Rue. Unfortunately, the rain decided to stay and our trip was cut a little short. Thanks to all the participants who made this a really nice trip!

Here are some pictures:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail


Probable Broad-winged Skipper


Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Hummingbird Clearwing Moth


Dogbane Beetle


Juniper Hairstreak


Male Blue Dasher (those black dots are sperm packets)


Prince Baskettail


Hummingbird Clearwing Video

Lists:

Butterflies:
Spicebush Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Cabbage White
Great Spangled Fritillary
Summer Azure
Eastern Tailed Blue
Juniper Hairstreak
Pearl Crescent
Delaware Skipper
Broad-winged Skipper (probable)
Dragonflies:
Eastern Forktail
Green Darner
Prince Baskettail
Widow Skimmer
Halloween Pennant
Eastern Pondhawk
Common Whitetail
Blue Dasher
Eastern Amberwing
Twelve-spotted Skimmer
Black Saddlebags

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Patrick,

Thank you very much for conducting this wonderful and insightful trip. Your write-up is very informative and your fiance's photos are nice. You have mentioned most of the specimens we saw; here are a few others from my notes: Daisy fleabane, Mountain mint, Chicory, and Bird's foot trefoil. And a special mention of the awesome dragonfly mating wheel we saw at the last pond stop.

As a side note, Wikipedia mentions that the bergamot herb is not the source of bergamot oil, used to flavor Earl Grey tea. The oil comes from bergamot orange.

Once again, thank you for conducting the trip. I have now removed butterfies and dragonflies from my bugs-to-be-ignored category.

/Jay and Sangita Shah

MojoMan said...

Fantastic photos and video! You're getting good at this. I'm starting to pay more attention to butterflies and dragonflies now. Thanks for another great post.

LauraHinNJ said...

Beautiful pics! Love the dragnfly with sperm packets - how cool!

What flower is the Juniper Hairstreak on?

Patrick Belardo said...

Jay, thanks for the additional info.

Laura,
That is Long-leaved Mountain Mint I think.

Mojo,
Definitely start paying attention! It'll open up a whole new world, especially when the birds may not be as active during the season.

tdogmom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tdogmom said...

Thank you for sharing! :0)