Butterflies will Flutter By

by Ned MacKay;                                                   

Winged insects and avians will share the spotlight at the 17th annual Butterfly and Bird Festival, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 5 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.

The festival is dedicated to increasing the populations of butterflies and birds in the Bay Area. Features will include tours of the park’s butterfly garden, hands-on activities for the whole family, educational speakers, photo presentations, and music. Experts will provide information on how to create your own wildlife-friendly backyard habitat.

Coyote Hills is located at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. Festival activities are free of charge. For more information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3220.

Speaking of insects, “Dashing Dragonflies” are the topic of Family Nature Fun Hour from 2 to 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. You can learn about these carnivorous insects, then look for them at a nearby pond. Then from 3 to 3:30 p.m. both days, it’s fish feeding time at Crab Cove’s large aquarium.

Millions of years ago, when Earth’s atmosphere was more oxygen rich, the fossil record indicates that dragonflies had wingspans of up to 30 inches. They’re smaller now, fortunately, but still fascinating and beautiful.

Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Alameda’s Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.

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Learn all about the birds and the bees next weekend at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. First the bees: you can learn the truth about them in a program from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 4 at the Little Farm classroom, with interpretive student aide Myles Lynn. Check out the local beehive, watch the bees’ waggle dance, and learn the importance of a healthy bee population.

As for the birds, naturalist Anthony Fisher will lead a bird walk from 8 to 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 5, in search of adult birds and recently fledged young ones.

Then from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday June 5, interpretive student aide Brianna Contaxis-Tucker will lead a program about the lives of young animals on Tilden’s Little Farm and the nearby wilds. The program includes arts, crafts, and interaction with farm animals.

Flutes made from elderberry branches are traditional in Native American culture. Anthony will show how to make and play one, in a program from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 5, for ages nine and up. The flutes are easy to make; hard to play.

The flute program requires registration, and there’s a fee of $5 per person. To register, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 13096.

All these programs meet at the Environmental Education Center and Little Farm, which are located at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive. Call 510-544-2233.

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The Over-the-Hills Gang is an informal, naturalist-led group of hikers ages 55 and older who enjoy nature study and fitness.

The gang will explore Lone Tree Point in Rodeo from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7. For information, call 510-544-2233.

There are still spring wildflowers in bloom at higher elevations. To see them, join naturalist Eddie Willis on a hike from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, June 5 at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve east of Mt. Diablo. The hike is for ages eight and older.

Meet Eddie at the park’s staging area on Morgan Territory Road, about nine miles south of Marsh Creek Road in Clayton.

Or you can meet a live snake under safe conditions in a program hosted by naturalist Virginia Delgado from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 5 at Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch. The program is for ages five and up. The park is at the end of Frederickson Lane off Golf Course Road. Meet at the swim area.

For information on either Eddie’s or Virginia’s program, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.