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Summer Outings

Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Summer 2021 promises outdoor fun and explorations to suit your interests. I always hope to excite people to discover butterflies in their garden, yard, neighborhood, and region. 

Even if you are an armchair explorer, you can view many beautiful butterflies by visiting the West Michigan Butterfly Association website by Googling it or by going to http://www.graud.org/wmba.html.

The Predictable Harvester butterfly is the only predatory butterfly in the United States. Photo by SJ Mueller

At the web site you can view many wonderful butterfly photographs taken in the wild by Mike Moran. Click on the Media Page and select Mike Moran’s Butterfly Photos and Mike Moran’s Skipper Photos. Also on the Media Page you can see a photo of the second state record for the Ocala Skipper taken by Ronda Spink 20 September 2020 at Wau-Ke-Na Preserve in Allegan Co. 

On the website home page you will find details for the 2021 butterfly counts that will held on July 5 in the Rogue River State Game Area, July 7 in the Allegan State Game Area, July 10 in the Greater Muskegon Area, and July 12 in the Manistee National Forest. Plan to participate.

Review the 2020 and 2019 count summaries to learn what butterflies can be found on the WMBA counts. 

Included on the home page is a story about the Northern Blue Butterfly photographer John Wilke and another about the Predictable Harvester Butterfly. 

This year I saw the Harvester butterfly at Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary beginning the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend and it was present in its predictable location for several days. On June 12, another appeared on our gravel driveway. This special butterfly is not commonly sighted but in known habitat it can be reliably seen annually. It has three to four broods annually. It is the only predatory butterfly in the United States. Its caterpillar feeds on aphids that suck fluids from plants. 

Spring butterflies are waning and summer butterflies are beginning to appear. The Red-spotted Purple and Viceroy have begun flight. My first sighting of Viceroy butterfly was seen at the Howard Christensen Nature Center on June 12. 

To enjoy seeing some of Michigan’s 150-plus butterflies species, plan to participate in WMBA activities. The club’s summer outings will expose you to nature niche habitats needed by different species.  

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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