During the past seven years, the nonprofit Esopus Creek Conservancy has provided public access to the Esopus Bend Nature Preserve in Saugerties with new and improved hiking trails. Volunteers have worked to restore the meadow area, where visitors can now observe a wide variety of wildflowers, birds and butterflies, and a variety of educational nature walks are held throughout the year.
This Saturday, June 23, Henry Halama and Steve Chorvas will lead a walk in search of “Breeding Birds and Butterflies.” Participants will identify birds by sight and sound, and explore the Preserve’s woodlands, wetlands and meadow, pausing along the way to observe the diversity of plant and animal life that inhabit the area. As the morning temperatures rise, the group will focus its attention on early summer butterflies active in the Preserve this time of year.
Participants should meet at 8 a.m. at the Saugerties Village Beach parking lot on Route 9W, just north of the Esopus Creek bridge, at the foot of Partition Street in the village. Dress for the prevailing weather conditions, bring binoculars, insect repellent and field guides, and be prepared for potentially wet or muddy trails or tall grass. Keep in mind that light rain often makes for excellent birding and nature observation, but will inhibit or eliminate most butterfly activity. Heavy rain will cancel the walk. Children are welcome and encouraged, but pets are not.
For more information, contact the field trip leaders, Henry Halama at firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Chorvas at email@example.com. The walk is free and open to all, and while preregistration is not required, it’s recommended in the event of unforeseen changes or cancellation.
On Saturday, June 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Eastern Catskills North American Butterfly Association (NABA) will hold its fifth annual Butterfly Count at the Esopus Bend Nature Preserve (the rain date is Sunday, July 1). The Eastern Catskills count circle includes a number of productive butterfly locations in northern Ulster, southeastern Greene and western Dutchess Counties, including Poets’ Walk Preserve, Esopus Bend Nature Preserve, the Great Vly Wildlife Management Area, Onteora State Park, Overlook Mountain, lower Platte Clove, the eastern end of Ashokan Reservoir and extensive open meadows in the Town of Ulster.
Participants will be assigned to a field party to census one or more target locations within the 15-mile-diameter count circle. Each field party will be assigned at least one individual knowledgeable in butterfly identification, so one doesn’t need to be a butterfly expert to participate. Full-day participation isn’t required, but the group requests that participants commit to at least four hours during the 10 a.m.-to-6 p.m. timeframe. To join one of the field teams, contact Steve Chorvas at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Sunday, June 24.