2019 Long Point Butterfly Count Results
By Adam Timpf, NFN Member and Event Organizer
(feature photo, above: Painted Lady, photo by Len Grincevicius)
The 28th annual Long Point butterfly count took place this year on Saturday July 6th, 2019, with 36 observers in various groups surveying different areas in an attempt to identify and count each butterfly encountered. The forecast the night before was calling for a lot of rain, but I was hoping there would be breaks in the weather.
My optimism was short lived when most of Saturday was dominated by rain. Some groups packed it in early, while others were able to fit in a few hours in the late afternoon. This was by far the wettest count in our 28-year history, and we could have cancelled the event all together. However, despite the fact most groups could only count for a couple hours, we tallied a remarkable amount and diversity of butterflies.
With groups focusing on their most productive areas, we managed to tally an impressive 1,706 individuals representing 50 species. Naturally, our individual total was below average, but surprisingly our species total was about average. I’m sure we would have added a few more species and many more individuals had the weather cooperated.
The biggest surprise may be that we managed to set new count highs for a few species despite the shortened day.
The 39 Northern Cloudywings and 30 Crossline Skippers smashed the old records of 14 and 12 respectively. This is mainly due to a few observers surveying some restored prairie fields on NCC property that were probably not surveyed on past counts. Just goes to show you, if you plant it, they will come! Five Juvenal’s Duskywings ties the previous high, perhaps an indication of a cooler than average spring as these are an early season flying species.
We were bound to miss something with the poor weather, and this year it was Orange Sulphur. This represents the first time this common species wasn’t recorded, and surely would have been found had we been able to put in a full day. Conversely, 93 Monarchs were recorded, well above the average of 51. Extrapolating out, with a full days effort we may have been able to best our count record of 186. As many readers will have noticed, this has been a banner year for Monarchs in Ontario. My fingers are crossed the current generation has a safe journey to their wintering site in Mexico, and the population can continue to grow.
Thank you to all the participants and helpers for your efforts on this challenging day. It wouldn’t be possible without your dedication and enthusiasm. Many thanks go to Peter and Mary for hosting the wrap-up and providing food and shelter to the wet and hungry counters.
Next year the count falls on Saturday July 4th so mark your calendars!
Long Point Butterfly Count Results 2019
|Eastern Tiger Swallowtail||31|
|Great Spangled Fritillary||6|
|Wild Indigo Duskywing||0|
|Common Roadside Skipper||0|
|Common Checkered Skipper||0|