Sunday, June 03, 2012

Mapleton Preserve

Back at the beginning of May, I birded at Heathcote Meadows, a county-owned preserve in South Brunswick Township. Heathcote Meadows is part of a greenbelt around Kingston that links it with the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, the Mapleton Preserve, and Cook Natural Area. Yesterday I birded Mapleton Preserve, which is part of a former plant nursery. A lot of the nursery buildings still exist, and the grounds are a mix of meadows with hedgerows in between them. This sort of habitat can be very productive for birding, and so it was yesterday, even with a late start.

I saw or heard at least six Field Sparrows, including one obvious pair. One male Common Yellowthroat was carrying a fat green caterpillar that looked as big as its head. Several Indigo Buntings were present and singing in the fields. A Willow Flycatcher was a pleasant surprise – perhaps it is more common in Middlesex County than I thought. Even better was a White-eyed Vireo singing near a pipeline cut that runs adjacent to the preserve. Along the same pipeline cut were a singing Prairie Warbler and an Orchard Oriole.

There were some butterflies active as well. The one above is a Question Mark in its winter form, which has orange hindwings and frosted edges.

At least 15-20 Cabbage Whites were clustered around a single mud puddle along the pipeline cut. Here are five of them.

Several Little Wood Satyrs were flying on a shaded trail.

As one would expect, a lot of Eastern Tailed-Blues were active in the fields. This one was cooperative.