Gypsy Moths; Field Notes – July 2, 2015

Wildcat Ridge, Rockaway Twp.,  July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Wildcat Ridge, Rockaway Twp., July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

“We’re not anticipating any great swaths of defoliation,” said Douglas Fisher, secretary of the state Department of Agriculture (Bugs regroup for attack on North Jersey trees –, May 24, 2015).

An interesting statement if you frequent the highlands of Morris County or talk to the people who do. Possibly, a moderate swath doesn’t deserve the same attention. Even if this year’s Gypsy Moth outbreak doesn’t approach the 339,240 acres of New Jersey Highlands trees defoliated in 2008, 2015 is something to contend with.

The photo at the top of the page is a tiny sample of the devastation to trees in Rockaway Township. Disorienting sun-drenched forest floors are a common sight in what are usually familiar tracts of shaded summer forest.

A combination of a dry spring and municipalities with tight purse strings has helped the Gypsy Moth make a noticeable appearance in the northern counties of New Jersey this summer, more so than most naturalists anticipated.

Gypsy Moths, Wildcat Ridge, July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Gypsy Moths, Wildcat Ridge, July 2, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

There are a good number of Hairstreaks and Fritillaries so far this summer but if you are in the the natural areas of the New Jersey Highlands, there is a very strong possibility that the dominant member of the Lepidoptera order seen flying will be Gypsy Moths.

Field Notes

Double-digit Grasshopper Sparrows and 3 Blue Grosbeaks were observed at Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve (Dan Brill via eBird)

Mike Newlon reports from Glenhurst Meadows, June 30:
At Wagner Farm a pair of Bobolinks plus a fledgling, and two agitated Eastern Meadowlarks. The grass in the meadows is in fine shape.

Butterfiles at Glenhurst Meadows: Canada Thistle on the sparrow mound is attracting skippers and hairstreaks (many Banded, two Hickory, one Striped). More thistle near the gazebo was not attracting much.

View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the website.

@mocosocoBirds at Twitter is another communications stream. Instant field reports and links of interest are tweeted throughout the day. The latest tweets appear on the sidebar of this page. One can follow mocosocoBirds at Twitter or link to @mocosocoBirds.


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