|Many Swallows, Butterflies and
Red Winged Black Birds in Holmdel Park
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Occasionally, we see swallows with glossy blue back and head perching on the swallow houses (nest boxes)
on the sled slope in Holmdel Park. Some of them readily take up residence in human-made nest boxes or
existing cavities (typically made by a woodpecker) of old trees.
Many swallows with forked tail, white rump and shaped wing are flying in Holmdel Park in New Jersey.
Swallows are quintessential aerial acrobatic fliers. They fly very fast, often twist from side to side and bank
erratically to pursue a meal of flying insects in the air. They are a delight to watch, but it is quite a challenge to
try to take good pictures of such fast and erratically flying swallows.
Swallow's aerial maneuvering is superb. They chase after flying insects with acrobatic twists and
turns, enabling it to catch flies and other insects on the wing and in great numbers.
Swallow flying with steely blue-green feathers flashing in the sunlight..
燕子翅膀很長，尾巴像張開的剪刀，體態輕盈， 飛行速度快， 在空中捕食飛蟲的能手。
Swallow with deep forked tail and long streamers.
Handsome aerialists, swallows are fast flier and glider with loud screaming calls.
Some swallows glide just a few inches over the pond if that's where the insects are!
The Shelter Building near the pond in Holmdel Park.
家燕經常把巢築在住家的騎樓屋角， 刻意去接近人類， 舊時王謝堂前燕，飛入尋常百姓
The pair of swallows has built a nest on the ceiling rafters of the Shelter Building in Holmdel Park.
In June 2015, a swallow was often sitting in this nest, probably was hatching eggs.
14～15天幼鳥出殼，張開大口嗷嗷待哺的雛燕 ， 雌雄親鳥共同飼餵， 食物均為昆蟲。
By late July 2015, there are three hungry baby swallows in this nest. Their mouses are wide open
when the parent swallows come back with captured insects to feed them.
Every few minutes, one of the parent swallows will come back with insects to feed the babies in the nest.
Sometime both parent swallows come back to the nest at the same time to feed the hungry babies.
The light near the ceiling is dim, the camera shutter speed is slow causing some blurring in the picture when
these swallows are in action.
So, these swallows are busily flying around over the large open grass field or water surface to catch many
insects not just to feed themselves but also to feed their hungry and rapidly growing babies in the nests.
Beautiful Tiger Swallowtail butterfly in Holmdel Park.
Dragonfly in Holmdel Park.
Another kind of dragonfly in Holmdel Park.
Sometimes swallows fly high in the sky if that's where the insects are!
Swallow calling on the ground.
A pair of swallows was busily flying in and out of this Shelter Building and attracted my attention.
One of many red winged black birds in Holmdel Park.
Some swallows fly low over water surface, skim their bodies against the water surface making a splash,
scoop up water with open mouth, then rise quickly while shaking off water droplets.
Swallow calling on the rail.
Thanks to my friend, Cheng how Mao, for pointing out that this second bird on the nest box is an eastern blue
May be Black Swallowtail butterfly in Holmdel Park.
While walking down the sled slope in Holmdel Park in July, I saw a red tailed hawk about 50 yards away
descended from tree top down to the ground between the upper pond and the lower pond in Holmdel Park. I
used my compact super-zoom camera (with 65X optical zoom) to zoom in to take a closer look and saw the
hawk caught something in its talons on the ground.
It seemed that what the red tailed hawk just caught was a snake.
Yes, in last couple years, some people fishing in this area told me that there is a snake in this area.
Then the hawk took off with the snake and disappeared into the woods.
Many park visitors hike through this area frequently such that the hawk could not stay on the ground here for
too long. The hawk had to carry the snake into the woods and spent some time on a tree to eat the snake.
The hawk was busy working for a while on what it just caught.
色彩豔麗的帝王斑蝶 （君主斑蝶）， 翅膀上有顯眼的橙色及黑色斑紋，邊緣有兩串細
I was very happy and excited to see the famous and brilliant Monarch butterfly in Holmdel Park on August
15, 2015. The orange-and-black monarch butterflies are considered the “king” of the butterflies, hence the
name “monarch”. Usually in August and September, many monarch butterflies migrate south through New
Jersey. This may be the early wave starting the southward migration already to fly to their winter roosting
grounds in the highlands of Central Mexico, the Kingdom of the Monarchs!.
Millions of monarch butterflies pass through the narrow Cape May peninsula in southern New Jersey each
autumn on a migratory journey. For the year 2010, the peak number occurred on September 18 and it was
estimated that about half million migratory monarch butterflies were flying all over the places in Cape May
on that particular day alone.
The incredible life-cycle and migration of monarch butterfly can be seen at the following website:
One of the world’s most astounding natural events occurs each year in North America, featuring one of its
most unlikely creatures, the delicate monarch butterfly. Every autumn, tens of millions of monarchs set flight
on a remarkable 3,000-mile journey from the northeastern U.S. and Canada to their ancestral wintering
roosting site in the volcanic mountains of central Mexico.
It is amazing that it takes 4 generations of monarch butterflies to complete their 3000-mile migration loop. In
other words, it is not the same monarch butterfly that completes the entire 3000-mile loop. Instead, it takes
the relay of 4 sequential generations of monarch butterfly to complete the 3000-mile migration loop. These
newly born monarch butterflies among the 4 generations have no previous experience for such long distance
migration loop. How do they know which direction and where to migrate to as part of the 3000-mile loop? The
location of their breeding grounds remained a mystery until 1977. How an infant generation of monarch
butterflies finds their breeding ground or wintering ground anew each year is still an enigma.
Each year, the monarch butterflies make a migration between Canada and Mexico and find the same pine and
fir forests to spend the winter, even though no monarch butterfly lives to make the full round trip.
The Tiger Swallowtail butterfly in Holmdel Park.
Brilliant and beautiful monarch butterfly under the shade on the southwest side of the lower pond in Holmdel
The butterfly and bumble bee.
Normally we do not see many flying small insects over the large grass field in Holmdel Park. But at sunset time
with back lighting from setting sun, these flying large number of small insects over the large grass field in
Holmdel Park become visible as shown on the following movie that I took:
It is these large number of flying small insects that many swallows are chasing, catching and eating in the air
over the large grass field in Holmdel Park.
Another kind of butterfly in Holmdel Park.
By mid-September, most swallows have migrated south and disappeared from Holmdel Park. But many
grasshoppers and dragonflies show up in Holmdel Park in mid-September.
On September 15, 2015, three hawks show up on the sky above Holmdel Park, one at lower level while the
other two at much higher level. Mid-September is the beginning of the fall migration season for the hawks and
many other kinds of birds. May be these three hawks were on their way migrating south.