New Jersey Butterfly Club

A chapter of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA)

New Jersey Butterfly Club Field Trips 2024

From Wade Wander, Field Trip Czar (looking for a way out)

How We Conduct Our Trips

Unless otherwise noted all trips will leave at 9:30 sharp from the meeting location. Poor-weather dates are in parentheses. Be sure to check this website for last-minute changes.

NOTE: No weekend trips are scheduled for late June and early July because many members participate on Fourth of July Counts, which are held on weekends during this time period. However, members are encouraged to announce weekday Flash Trips.

OTHER POSSIBLE TRIPS THAT COULD BE ARRANGED ON WEEKDAYS: These could be Flash Trips or scheduled in advance by popular demand only, so let Wade know.

High Point State Park, Sussex County, to look for Edwards’ Hairstreaks and other species near the High Point Monument parking lot and other easily accessible locations. Also, late August/early September to look for the very rare Leonard’s Skipper at only one of 2 or 3 known places in NJ. Assunpink WMA, Monmouth County, if the explosion of Little Yellows and Cloudless Sulphurs continues from previous years. Crystal Springs Preserve/Teetertown Ravine Preserve, Lebanon Twp., Hunterdon County. Best in late June when Canada Thistle is in good bloom.

Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area

  • Date: April 27 (April 28), 9:30
  • Location: Highlands Borough, Monmouth County
  • Leader: Keith Richmond (908) 616-5658

Our goal species here is Henry’s Elfin, but many others are likely to be seen, including American Copper, Juniper Hairstreak, azures, and American Lady.

Meet at restrooms at the center of parking area B (the first large lot on the right after you enter the Hook). Bring lunch.

Cape May

Cancelled due to inclement weather!

  • Date: MAY 4 and 5 (no rain dates)
  • Location: (various locations)
  • Leaders: Local experts from the Cape area

This will be joint field trip with the newly formed South Jersey chapter of NABA.

We will meet in the town of Woodbine in northern Cape May County at 9:30 on May 4. Specifically, at the end of Heine Avenue (a cul-de-sac) at coordinates 39.226880, -74.797424. We will spend some time butterflying this area and then drive to other locations. We hope to see the State Endangered Frosted Elfin and the stunning Hessel’s Hairstreak in addition to Sleepy Duskywing, Henry’s Elfin, Juniper Hairstreak, American Snout, lots of Ladies and Red Admirals, and with a bit of luck White M Hairstreak and Cobweb Skipper. There are no bathrooms at the meeting place so you may want to stop at a WaWa where you can also grab lunch. We are told that ticks may be numerous, so be prepared. Group dinner on Saturday night to be discussed with participants. Any questions call Wade’s cell (973) 271-0204 or Sharon’s cell (973) 271-0051. If poor butterfly weather is forecast we will cancel the trip by Friday morning (May 3).

Please text or email us (wec2293@gmail.com) if you are planning to come, so we know how many folks to expect at the meeting place.

White Lake Natural Area and Shuster Pond

  • Date: MAY 25 (May 26), 9:30
  • Location: Hardwick Twp., Warren County
  • Leaders: Wade and Sharon Wander (973) 271-0204 or 271-0051 (White Lake) and Carla Lee Lewis (Shuster Pond).

Most members are familiar with White Lake as a good butterfly location. But this year, at the invitation of the owners, we will also visit a wonderful private property nearby that supports a colony of Appalachian Azures.

Meet at the White Lake parking lot on Route 521. Port-a-pottie only.

Mercer Meadows

  • Date: June 1 (June 2), 9:30
  • Location: Lawrence Twp., Mercer County
  • Leader: Henry Kindervatter (267) 401-2699

We will meet at the Pole Farm District section of Mercer Meadows - 111 Cold Soil Rd, Lawrence Township, NJ, GPS co-ordinates 40.312858097077694, -74.73734997043698. Bring lunch.

At noontime we can break for lunch and see what the group wants to do for the afternoon. We can continue in that general area or try the Blackwell Mills Road site.

This is a new trip for the club that we have chosen to visit mainly because of some outstanding reports to the sightings page. See site description on this website.

Willowemoc-Fir Brook area

Attention: This trip, originally scheduled for Monday June 10, has been postponed until Wednesday June 12. All other details remain the same.

  • Date: Monday, June 12 (June 13), 10:00
  • Location: Sullivan County, New York
  • Leader: Renee Davis (845) 798-3266

This is a special out-of-state trip to look for Harris’ Checkerspot and Arctic Skipper (two species that have not been found in NJ in many years), and maybe one or two bears and a porcupine thrown in.

Meet at Route 17 exit #98 Parksville at 10:00 (pull off road at end of exit ramp). At exit 105B Kiamesha there is fast food and a Mobile gas station that makes sandwiches. At exit 100 Liberty there is fast food and a diner. (These exits precede #98 when coming from the south.) Picnic tables and bathrooms available at our lunch spot, Willowemoc Campground, where drinks and ice cream are for sale.

Wawayanda State Park and Appalachian Trail lands

  • Date: JUNE 22 (JUNE 23), 9:30
  • Location: Vernon Twp., Sussex County
  • Leaders: Wade and Sharon Wander (973) 271-0204 or 0051

The club has not visited Vernon in several years so it is time to return. We will go to several locations on state land where we hope to see Giant Swallowtail, Banded and Juniper hairstreaks, Northern Pearly-eye, Appalachian Brown, Eyed Brown, anglewings, emperors, Red-spotted Purple, Common Ringlet, and maybe Baltimore Checkerspot. See Appalachian Trail Lands site description on this website.

Meet at Maple Grange Park at 36 Maple Grange Road. Bathrooms available. Lunch, ice cream, and bathrooms at nearby Heaven Hill Farm.

Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center

  • Date: Friday, JULY 19 (no rain date), 9:30
  • Location: Chester Twp., Morris County
  • Leader: Bill Lynch of the NJCF and a mob of club members.

Friday trip with the NJ Conservation Foundation. We usually see about 15-20 species of butterflies on these trips, which are open to the general public. This is a great chance to share our knowledge of butterflies and other taxa to novices, including children. Indoor bathrooms.

Meet at the main building (down the steps from the large gravel parking lot) at 170 Longview Road, Far Hills. These trips begin at 9:30 and normally end around noon. Afterwards many members go to the adjacent Willowwood Arboretum to eat lunch and walk through the gardens and fields. Bathroom available.

NABA Day at Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden

  • Date: Saturday, July 20th (July 21st), 10:00
  • Location: Memorial School, Washington Boro, Warren County
  • Leader: Tomás Gonzales (908-328-3875)

Come join us for our 21th annual “NABA day” at this special place between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at Memorial School in Washington, Warren County. In addition to NABA folks, local parents and children will be encouraged to attend. Bring a lunch and come for the whole three hours, or stop in anytime between 10 and 2 to help us identify the butterflies and interact with the parents and kids.

DIRECTIONS: Memorial School is located at: 300 West Stewart Street, Washington, NJ 07882. From the center of Washington (which is the intersection of routes 31 and 57) go west on route 57 for about 0.7 mile and turn right onto North Prospect Street. Go one block and turn left onto West Stewart Street. Take this to the school and park. (DeLorme 29: H-15.)

Pequest WMA

  • Date: Wednesday, July 24 (July 25), 9:30
  • Location: Liberty and Mansfield townships, Warren County
  • Leaders: Wade and Sharon Wander (973) 271-0051

This trip is timed to coincide with the peak emergence of swallowtails partaking of the abundant Wild Bergamot. We will visit a few fields filled with flowers, and a small dirt parking area that is often frequented by anglewings, snouts, and emperors.

Meet at the Resource Education Center parking lot at 605 Pequest Road, Oxford Twp., at 9:30. (The parking lot can also be accessed directly from Route 46.) Inside bathrooms available.

Club annual picnic at Kittatinny Valley State Park

  • Date: July 27
  • Location: Andover Twp., Sussex County
  • Field-trip Portion - Leader: Tom Halliwell (973) 713-2147
  • Picnic Organizer(s): Volunteers still needed!

The field-trip portion will begin at 9:30, followed by the picnic at noon. We will meet at the parking lot at the park entrance off of Goodale Road (not Limecrest Road) and walk the roads and trails through large flower-filled meadows. Those arriving only for the picnic meet at the large parking lot on Limecrest Road about 1 mile off of Route 206. Port-a-potty available at Goodale Road entrance, and inside bathrooms at the picnic area.

Volunteers for picnic organizer(s) are needed. We need one or two members to organize the club picnic on the 27th. This involves asking members what dishes they would like to bring for sharing and who is bringing the dogs, burgers, chicken, buns, etc., and for a volunteer to do the grilling. Participants are responsible for bringing their own beverages.

Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center

  • Date: Friday, AUGUST 9 (no rain date), 9:30
  • Location: Chester Twp., Morris County
  • Leader: Bill Lynch of the NJCF and a mob of club members.

Friday trip with the NJ Conservation Foundation. We usually see about 15-20 species of butterflies on these trips, which are open to the general public. This is a great chance to share our knowledge of butterflies and other taxa to novices, including children. Indoor bathrooms.

Meet at the main building (down the steps from the large gravel parking lot) at 170 Longview Road, Far Hills. These trips begin at 9:30 and normally end around noon. Afterwards many members go to the adjacent Willowwood Arboretum to eat lunch and walk through the gardens and fields. Bathroom available.

Crosswicks Creek Greenway

  • Date: August 10 (Date may change to suit availability of leaders), 9:30
  • Location: Upper Freehold Twp., Monmouth County
  • Leaders: Greg Prelich and Jeanine Apgar

A new trip inspired by a number of excellent reports on the Recent Sightings page. See site description on this website. Details to be arranged.

Mount ‘n’ Meadow and White Lake Natural Area

  • Date: AUGUST 31, 9:30
  • Location: Blairstown Twp., and Hardwick Twp., Warren County
  • Leader: Dennis Briede

Friend of the club Dennis Briede has once again offered to host the club for a leisurely walk through his meadows, which he maintains for insect pollinators, birds, and herps. Leonard’s and Ocola skippers are always possible. If we fail to see Leonard’s at Mount ‘n’ Meadow we can drive a short distance to Camp Mohican Road and walk along a utility line easement. Port-a-potty available at White Lake and indoor bathroom at Mount ‘n’ Meadow.

Cape May

  • Date: (overnight weekday trip between 9/16 and 9/21)
  • Location: Various locations around the Cape
  • Leaders: Colleagues from the Cape area

This always-popular getaway to the Cape is the capstone to our butterfly season. (Once specific dates have been determined it would be wise to immediately arrange for lodging/camping.) One late afternoon/evening (date to be determined) we will meet at the lovely home of Teresa and Jim Knipper for a potluck meal and a special surprise. Dinner on the second night to be arranged at a local eatery. This is a chance to confer, consult, and otherwise hobnob with our friends from the recently formed South Jersey Chapter of NABA.

How We Conduct Our Trips

First: Everyone is welcome to join us, club member or not.

Second: The club urgently needs more trip leaders and some member or members to arrange the annual club picnic.

Leaders

Scheduled trips will be organized and led by members who are familiar with the locations. The primary responsibility of a leader is logistical: to make sure that the venue is open on the scheduled date and that no other major events are scheduled for that day at that location, that sufficient parking is available, that public bathrooms (port-a-potties are suitable for this rugged group) are open, and that a shaded location is available for participants to sit and eat lunch (picnic tables a bonus but not necessary). It is also the responsibility of leaders to provide their contact information (cell phone) and to decide whether a trip is a go or a no go if the weather is dicey.

Field trip locations

As always, our goal is to mix in trips to new locations (or those we haven’t visited in a while) with those to tried-and-true destinations. Wade especially welcomes suggestions for new locations as it is human nature to keep returning to the same familiar spots year after year.

Timing

Early- and late-season field trips will be to south or coastal locales, where butterflies are out and about earlier and later in the year because of warmer temperatures. We like to schedule trips on Saturdays (which leaves Sundays as rain dates) but have included quite a few weekday excursions as most members are retired, unemployed, (or, in some cases, unemployable). Trips start at 9:30 unless otherwise noted. In hot weather trips may start at 9:00 or in cooler weather, at 10:00.

Difficulty

Unless otherwise noted most trips will involve fairly easy walking on mostly flat ground or gentle slopes.

Flash trips

Flash trips are those with short advance notice. For example, if you plan on going somewhere and want company (and who doesn’t nowadays?) let the club know! Except for meeting up, everybody is on their own, so you are not responsible for logistics. And if you personally can’t make it at the last moment, no worries as it is understood that these flash trips are essentially leaderless, with members and guests wandering about aimlessly but in good butterfly habitat.

Photography

Photographers who want to get very close to subjects should wait until everyone has gotten a satisfactory look before they stick their lenses into the labial palps of their quarry. I say this despite the fact that no photographer since Matthew Brady has admitted to scaring away a subject (And he photographed dead guys!). But please be considerate, especially of those for whom the butterfly in question may be a lifer.

Experts

Those of us who are experienced are encouraged to share their knowledge with others, especially beginners. It has been our experience that butterfliers are inquisitive about all aspects of nature, so feel free to pontificate about anything that catches your interest.

Keepers of lists

On every trip someone must volunteer to keep the daily list and location lists for posting on the club website. Ideally, at the end of each trip/location the list guru will review the tally with those people still present. The list shall include the keeper’s best approximation of the numbers of individuals of each species (which admittedly can be a challenge with our free-ranging group). The list is later uploaded by the list keeper or trip leader to the club sightings page for posterity. These data are important and are used by researchers studying changes in butterfly populations.

The last word (I promise)

These trips are supposed to be fun. So, if it’s a hot day (and some will be) and you start to feel uncomfortable, please feel free to bail out and sit in the shade or in your car with the AC blasting. There is nothing heroic about passing out! Please assume that all locations will have muddy areas, so always wear appropriate footgear. Other essentials are plenty of water, lunch or snack, sunscreen, close-focusing binoculars (loaners are available), can-do spirit, and a hat and long-sleeve shirt if you are especially sun sensitive. A bandana, headband, portable camp stool, insect spray, and tip money for the leader and field trip czar may also come in handy Please assume that ticks and other assorted unwelcome critters will be present on every trip (“Fun,” right?).