Long Point Butterfly Count 2018: Participant Report
By Inga Hinnerichsen
Photos by Len Grincevicius
The Long Point Butterfly Count is organized by our official “Butterfly Counter” Adam Timpf and is supported by the Norfolk Field Naturalists. It is an all-day event and involves identifying and counting local butterflies. This count is part of a North America wide survey providing valuable information of the butterfly populations and the well-being of the environment in general. Members of our team were Dr. Richard Tanner, Mats van Kleef, Anita and Dick (visiting from Calgary—my old stomping grounds!) and myself.
Saturday, July 7, was ideal for the count—sunny, not too hot with only a gentle breeze. Our area consisted of Backus Woods and nearby fields. We began our count at a restored field near East 1/4 Line Road. This is excellent butterfly habitat with many flowering plants at their finest, including Brown-eyed Susan, Milkweed and Orange Butterfly Weed, another type of Milkweed.
Sure enough, Monarchs, Sulphurs, Wood Nymphs and Skippers were flitting about.
A tick check in the parking lot yielded several wood ticks crawling on our clothing. Fortunately, no black-legged ticks this time! Next, we headed back into Backus Woods where several Tawny Emperors were dancing in the air around a few Hackberry trees, the favourite food of their larvae. This sighting was particularly nice, since last year we didn’t see any at all, and only one the year before.
We spent a few more pleasant hours observing 22 different species of butterflies. The day ended with a round-up barbecue where the teams hand in their count results. The all-time record stands at 55 species. This year 2,285 individual insects of 54 species were seen.