Butterfly count organizer, Jeff Skevington (above), reports low numbers of species and individuals this year
by Jeff Skevington, photos by Angela Skevington
Water levels were the highest we have seen on the count. Many places were inaccessible as a result, and places that we did visit that are typically dry had a great deal of standing water. For example, the alvar in most years is exceptionally dry with many plants wilted from the lack of water. This year there was standing water in many places on the alvar, over 30 cm deep in spots.
Our species total for the count (43) was the lowest since we split the count into multiple areas with area leaders. Typical counts are usually in the low to mid-50s. The individual count (661) was the lowest in 15 years and is reflective of the scarcity of most insects this year.
Thanks to everyone who came out on the count!
|NOTE: The North American Butterfly Association has coordinated butterfly counts following the same format as Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) for many years. These counts are published as part of an ongoing program of NABA to census the butterflies of North America (see www.naba.org/counts.html for more information). Volunteer participants focus on a 24-km diameter circle and conduct a one-day census of all butterflies sighted within that circle. As with CBCs, there is a $4 charge to participants to support the publication of the results (not obligatory, but encouraged).
The Ottawa count area is centred at Manion Corners (SW of Ottawa), a site formerly used as a non-OFNC count circle. It includes several important butterfly areas, such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar. It is an all-day event.
Count data for 2017 (excel spreadsheet)