A Trip to High Mountain's Clove

My wife Patty and I made a visit to the Clove at High Mountain and the nearby  ancient rockshelter last weekend.

It's as enchanted a spot as ever.

Were pleased to see a new bench and new signs.  We'd like to think that the "Franklin" in the clove sign refers to Benjamin, not his traitor/Loyalist son. You can read more about William here: https://flatrock.org.nz/topics/new_jersey/bill_franklin.htm

Also pleased to see no Spotted Lanternflies or their larvae on the Clove's Trees of Heaven.

Even came up with a Monday Morning Mystery bonus, one of the images below. What is the plant?

Caterpillars & Cocoons @ the Library

The Lee Memorial Library currently has at least six caterpillars and two chrysalises on display.

I was lucky enough to baby-sit these guys over the holiday weekend, and they let me take their pictures. 

Most of the caterpillars and a chrysalis attached to a fennel plant are Black Swallowtails (state butterfly of New Jersey).

The chrysalis with the gold trim attached to the top of another cage is a Monarch.

Please come in and see for yourself.

For info about the upcoming butterfly talk (Friday, July 15) and a butterfly walk (Saturday, July 16) sponsored by the library and Fyke, click here:






Squirrel Eats Milkweed for Ransom

Perhaps I am reading too much into this, but we have a squirrel in the backyard who started eating our milkweed buds when I stopped filling the feeders.

With the deer eating just about every other native plant, including the ironweed, it's a bit frustrating.

Anyone have a suggestion? (I know, First World problem...)

Smoke-phase Turkey in Quebec?

IMG_0809Mary-Pat Hebert writes:

   Hello Jim.
   I live in the Laurentians, north of Montreal, Canada. An American friend sent me an article written by you re: a smoke-phase turkey seen by your friend, Ken Wiegand at his feeder.
   I am sending you a picture of this turkey seen yesterday at our feeder. I have never seen one so pale. My husband thinks it is a   Tom and I think it is a hen. Can you help us out here?
   Do you think it is a smoke-phase turkey?  The recessive gene is very interesting.
   I think we can agree that it is a smoke-phase. Do you think it is a male or female?
   The original column is here:

Continue reading "Smoke-phase Turkey in Quebec?" »

Happy Fourth of July!

The American flags are flying at the historic John Fell House for the Fourth of July weekend, and what better place?

John Fell was a Founding Father who led the resistance against the Loyalists in Bergen County -- and became a prisoner of war as a result and imprisoned in the notorious Provost Jail in Lower Manhattan.

He later ratified the U.S. Constitution as a N.J. delegate. The Celery Farm was part of his property back in the day when Allendale was part of Paramus.

A big Thank You to Joanne Hart for putting up the flags (and coming up with this wonderful idea.

For more information on the flags go here.


Here Come the Butterflies!

Get ready for Allendale’s Butterfly Summer

The Fyke Nature Association is pleased to announce that Allendale's Butterfly Summer is right around the corner.

 With the help of the Lee Memorial Library, the John Fell House and the Allendale Garden Club, we are planning several events and talks related to butterflies and moths

All About Butterflies

Friday, July 15, 2 p.m.

Don Torino, head of Bergen Audubon, will do a short Zoom talk on butterflies in advance of Fyke and Lee Memorial Library’s Family Butterfly Walk on Saturday, July 16. Don will also mention the big annual Butterfly Day at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst on Sunday, July 17.

Jim Wright will introduce Don and later talk briefly about the Saturday walk and logistics thereto.  45 minutes. Free and open to all. Stay tuned on how to register for the Zoom talk, brought to you by the Fyke Nature Association and Lee Memorial Library.

Family Butterfly Walk
The Celery Farm, Sat., July 16, 10:30 a.m.

  This annual event is held in memory of Tom Burr, the late naturalist, photographer, and friend of the Celery Farm. This year we are teaming with Lee Memorial Library and inviting local families.

  Join Deedee Burnside, Fred Weber, Jim W. and other Fyke members for a 60-minute stroll. Meet at the end of Green Way at 10:30 a.m. Free and open to all. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Dress for bright sun. Bring water and sunscreen. Rain date: Saturday, July 23, 10:30 a.m. To register, email Jim at celeryfarm@gmail.com. Limit: 24 participants. We will schedule another walk if the demand is strong.

Moth Night at the Fell House.

Saturday, July 23 is Moth Night, and Fyke and Lee Memorial Library are kicking off National Moth Week. Elena Tartaglia, a biology professor at Bergen Community college and a National Moth Week founder, will do a short talk at 7:45 p.m. and supply the moth lights. We will also show "Mothra Vs. Godzilla" outside and serve s'mores. Bring your own non-aerosol mosquito spray and water. Ends at 10 p.m. To register, email Jim Wright at celeryfarm@gmail.com.


A Friday afternoon Zoom talk about raising Monarch butterflies. Free and open to all. Stay tuned on how to register.


Butterfly Summer is brought to you thanks to a generous grant from the Winifred M. and George P. Pitkin Foundation.