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Tag Archive | "Rogue River Butterfly Count"

Rogue River Butterfly Count 


By Ranger Steve Mueller

The European Skipper butterfly was in great abundance during this year’s Rogue River butterfly count.

The European Skipper butterfly was in great abundance during this year’s Rogue River butterfly count.

The weather was great with sunny skies and little wind. New participants enjoyed butterflies, learned identification and associations with nature niche habitats. We met at the Howard Christensen Nature Center for our 29th year at 9 a.m. The counting began at HCNC’s Welcome Center. The group car-pooled to various areas in the Rogue River State Game Area. We visited the highest elevation in Kent County at Fisk Knob where we anticipated “hill topping” Black Swallowtails.

Hill topping is a behavior where butterflies fly to the highest location in the area and increase their chance for finding a mate. Not all butterflies exhibit this behavior. During the day, butterfly behavior was observed and described to help make the count a wonderful experience. Larval host plants were inspected for caterpillars or eggs. Both Viceroy eggs and larva were found. Most time was spent looking for adults and counting individuals of each species. European Skippers were in greatest abundance.

The total number of species observed has varied over the 29 years from 18 to 43. Weather affects butterfly activity. Sunny days with little or no wind in the 70’s and 80’s is ideal. Adults often emerge from pupae following a soaking rain. Activity is closely linked with blooming of nectar sources. Consider joining in 2017. Watch the Nature Niche column for next year’s dates for the Allegan, Muskegon, and Rogue River State Game Area Counts as well as the Newaygo Count in the Manistee National Forest. Books and internet web sites help but most of us learn best by exploring the real world. Time outdoors is most enjoyable, healthy, provides family time and creates wonderful memories.

See Table 1 for this year’s Rogue River Count discoveries. Results for the other counts will be posted on the West Michigan Butterfly Association (WMBA) Web Site in August. Consider becoming a member of WMBA. Membership fee is $5/yr. A check can be sent to the treasurer’s address posted on the web site (http://www.graud.org/wmba.html). The date for the Muskegon count has been rescheduled to July 17 2016 from July 24. Visit the WMBA web site for location details.

Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary is the last place we visited after diligently searching all day. I am always hopeful we will be able to find at least one species we have not discovered elsewhere. This year we saw three additional species. They were Eastern Comma, Eyed Brown, and Harvester. We work to enhance the greatest biodiversity possible at Ody Brook and the work is successful.

During count week (3 days before and after the count) we also added Common Wood Nymph and Silver-spotted Skipper that were not sighted on count day.

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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Rogue River Butterfly Count


Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

The Rogue River Butterfly Count was held on June 23, 2013 and sometimes one cannot get an adequate look to identify a species. This was a case with a hairstreak in a tree. The North American butterfly Association rules allow us to count the hairstreak species provided no other hairstreaks were identified to species. This was the only hairstreak sighted. It is early in the season for this group of butterflies. Most hairstreaks will not emerge from the chrysalis until near July 4. The lone unidentified duskywing is a species that is usually done flying by this date because it is more of a spring butterfly. This year’s count was held early but we still did well with 24 species and 212 individuals sighted.

A cool spring delayed normal flowering about three weeks and insect emergence was also delayed. Life has been playing catch up and flower blooming dates were almost on schedule by late June. When observing butterflies we pay attention to flowers, birds, mammals, and all life to make the day as fun a possible. We got great looks at a Green Heron and several other species. Consider joining us for the Newaygo count on July 27, at 9 a.m.

This day our focus was on butterfly nature niches. We saw the following species and the number sighted follows each name.

Rogue River Butterfly Count Sightings

Black Swallowtail – 2

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail -10

Spicebush Swallowtail – 3

Cabbage White – 25

Clouded Sulphur -1

Orange Sulphur – 1

American Copper – 1

Hairstreak species – 1

Summer Azure – 8

Summer Azure egg- 1 observed as laid

Pearl Crescent – 2

Baltimore Checkerspot -3

Eastern Comma – 1

Mourning Cloak -1

American Lady – 1

Red-spotted Purple – 2

Viceroy – 3

Little Wood Satyr – 53

Monarch – 3

Silver-spotted Skipper – 1

Duskywing species – 1

European Skipper – 81

Indian Skipper – 3

Peck’s Skipper – 1

Hobomok Skipper – 1

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.

 

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