EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission are launching the first town-wide East Brunswick Butterfly Survey to better understand our butterfly fauna. They are calling on everyone in town (and anyone else that wants to visit) to become Citizen Scientists and help them document what butterflies occur in East Brunswick and where and when they were found.
The EBEC has set up an iNaturalist group called "East Brunswick Nature" for everyone to post their photos. The group can be found here.
EBEC members and Friends are interested in any sightings anywhere in town, from backyards to township parks. The Friends are creating an East Brunswick Park Guide with maps and information about each park for anyone looking for a cool place to explore.
The guide is a work in progress, but there are already a number of sightings reported.
The Friends has also developed an online Field Guide to some of the butterflies seen at the East Brunswick Butterfly Park . The Friends have already seen two butterflies in East Brunswick in 2017; a Mourning Cloak and an Eastern Comma. Both butterflies were found in February during the unusual warm spell that occurred before the late season snow and cold.
Although these sightings were early, finding these two butterflies in late winter is not really a surprise. They are among our earliest butterflies because they both hibernate as adults in a hollow log, or tree crevice or some other similarly protected place, ready to emerge on warm, sunny, late winter and early spring days to find mates and start the cycle over again.
The Mourning Cloak was found on February 19 at Frost Woods and the Eastern Comma on February 27 at Jamesburg Park. Both parks are fantastic places to explore and may yield some really interesting butterflies with a little searching. Photos of both of the butterflies are below. Look at how remarkably camouflaged they are against the background of dead leaves with their muted brown colors and tattered wing edges.
To encourage and reward involvement in the project, the Friends will also award a copy of the Kaufman Guide to Butterflies to two lucky Citizen Scientists selected randomly in the fall from among the local lepidopterists who submit a butterfly record to the iNaturalist East Brunswick Nature group.