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Obedient Flower Opens, Hollyhock Returns

28 Aug

We bought the obedient or physostegia virginiana plant from the Gowanus Canal Conservancy in May, but its just now doing somethimg!

Get Ready. Get Set…Monarch!

14 Aug

The Monarch butterfly migration is here! Learn how you can help the species at CV.

Conservationists across North America tag the Monarchs with stickers to help Monarch Watch track and analyze the health of the migration. CV residents are invited to help, which entails:

  • Monitoring habitats around the children’s play area behind 195 Adams Street, and alerting the group when a Monarch emerges
  • Checking on caterpillars in the habitats to make sure they have enough milkweed (if not, you’ll pick some and place it inside).
  • Searching milkweed for Monarch caterpillars, capturing them when found
  • Roughly 24 hours after the butterfly emerges, her wings will have dried and she will be ready for flight. This is when we would gently grab the butterfly (per expert instructions) and place the sticker in the designated spot. The task typically requires at least two adults.
  • Tags (small stickers), butterfly nets and habitats are in the shed. Volunteers will get the code to the shed’s lock so they can access the nets or habitats as needed. (See below RE best times.)
  • Mundane tasks such as cleaning and sanitizing habitats
  • Fun tasks such as naming caterpillars, taking photos, making signs

Timeframe: Mid-August through Early October

Peak migration is predicted to happen in Brooklyn during mid September, but the Monarchs will also pass through (and leave eggs/caterpillars) before and after this time. August is a great time to learn and practice combination lock and net skills so you’re prepared by peak season! Send a message with your contact info to, or post a note it in a comment.

Best times to find Monarch caterpillars: Look at the milkweed that is along the fence next to the slide during daylight hours. If you see leaves that look like they’ve been munched on, there is a good chance there is a caterpillar nearby.

Best times to see and catch Monarch Butterflies: On sunny days, butterflies visit the milkweed and large white flowered butterfly bush and other pollinator-friendly plants in the play area. Peak time of day is between 1 pm and 4pm, roughly.

CVearthlab is a registered Monarch waystation, and we try to catch and tag Monarch butterflies, or capture and raise Monarch caterpillars, to contribute to conservation efforts.

See past posts: CV Has Monarch Caterpillars ; Monarch Was Tagged, Released Today

See video demonstration on Monarch catching/holding/tagging tips
How to hold, attach sticker
How to tag using net/holding Monarch thru net
(advance to around 5 min for net catch and grab, 9:30 for sticking tag on)

Why and how to tag Monarchs (longer video)

Zinnia Blooms!

11 Aug

The zinnia flower that I started from seed at our March workshop has finally opened. Hello, beautiful!

Early August 2021: Scenes and Snapshots

8 Aug

End-of-July Flower Pics

7 Aug

Where Did This Come From?!?

26 Jul

Did anyone notice? We grew a cucumber!

Pre-migration Monarchs Persist

23 Jul

This looks like a female, here’s hoping she left behind some eggs! Keep an eye on the milkweed outside play area near honeysuckle, lavender, and comprey plants.

Flowers in Mid-July

23 Jul

Eastern Swallowtail Surprise

20 Jul

This beauty left eggs behind when she visited Sunday. Look for them, and baby caterpillars, on the parsley, dill, and fennel.

Update:  Almost certainly a black Eastern swallowtail.  According to this source, egg stage lasts 4 to 9 days… Should we rescue and raise one of these guys?

Fennel plants by play area entry gate

Is This a Silvery Blue, Spring Azure, or Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly?

10 Jul

Or another species all together? At first glance, I dismissed it as a plain old cabbage white, but looking closely I realized it was more colorful (esp when it spread its wings and blue, exposing a pretty baby blue color.) Unfortmately that happened off camera…Research suggests this is likely a Spring Azure, I will keep reading…UPDATE: This appears to be a male Eastern-Tailed Blue Butterfly.

In other butterfly news, the Monarchs should emerge from their chrysalises later this week.  Be sure to check on them when you walk past or visit the play area.

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