18th Annual Petroglyphs Butterfly Count
By Gerry Ball and Martin Parker
The 18th Annual Petroglyphs Butterfly Count was held on Saturday, July 15th. The 17 participants were fortunate in having a warm and sunny day for the count, an unusual occurrence this summer. The sunny conditions resulted in good viewing conditions for the participants and the butterflies. The participant were organized into 7 parties by count compiler Gerry Ball.
The cool wet spring and summer had impacted the populations of some of the butterflies normally found on this count. Emergence of many species has been delayed due to the cooler temperatures. Numbers of Dun and Broad-winged Skippers were down, probably due to high water levels in the fen habitats in which they breed. The caterpillars of these species feed on a variety of sedges.
Collectively the observers found a total of 55 species of butterflies representing 3,401 individuals and 13 caterpillars representing two species.
The over-all highlight was the number of Monarch butterflies located – 65 adults and 11 caterpillars. This has been a good summer for this species, especially when compared to the drought conditions of 2016. The average over the previous five counts was 24 adults, so this year represents a good recovery for this species. The lush growth of milkweed is a major factor.
Another highlight was the presence of large numbers and diversity of ‘anglewing’ butterflies. The emergence of the second flight of the year has been delayed due to the weather and on the day of the count seven species were recorded.
The Petroglyphs Butterfly Count is just one of over 400 butterflies counts held in Canada, United States and Mexico annually and coordinated by the North American Butterfly Association. The registration fee for this count and its participants was part of the 2017 expenditures of the PFN Legacy Fund.
See the full results from the 2017 butterfly count at Petroglyphs Provincial Park.
Many thanks to the participants listed below:
- Robert DiFrusscia
- Michael Gillespie
- Susan Blayney
- Dan Bone
- Rayfield Pye
- Carolyn King
- Steve LaForest
- Martin Parker
- Ruth Davenoport
- Rebecca Rogers-Watson
- Mathew Tobey
- Karen Kerr
- Steve Keer
- Jerry Ball
- Rene Gareau
- Dennis Barry
- King Baker