Diario del proyecto CVC Butterfly Blitz 2020

06 de julio de 2020

Observation of the week – June 29 - July 5, 2020

We’re into the second month of our 2020 CVC Butterfly Blitz, and together we’ve recorded over 550 observations of 45 butterfly species. Thank you to everyone who has been getting outside and taking pictures!

Our fifth OOTW is this Baltimore Checkerspot from Butterfly Blitzer @marcjohnson and his family who spent their Canada Day doing a Big Butterfly Day in the Credit River Watershed, looking for butterflies at different CVC properties. The Johnsons “have enjoyed doing weekend hikes throughout covid-19, and the butterfly blitz has given these hikes new purpose and focus. The kids are loving butterflying and natural history more than they have ever before.”

Marc’s kids, Oscar (11) and Mae (14), get the credit for finding the Baltimore Checkerspot. Oscar was the first to spot it and comment on how amazing it looked, but it got away from him. Marc says: “Mae spotted it again later and describes her thought as: ‘wow, that’s the really pretty thing that Oscar saw and I better catch it’. When she caught it, she thought ‘it was gorgeous and she was excited to catch a new species for our count’”.

Baltimore Checkerspots are usually found in wet meadows where Turtlehead plants are found – the main food source for their caterpillars. They are an uncommon species in our area but can be very locally abundant in the right habitat. This was the case for the area of Caledon Lake where the Johnsons saw their checkerspot; they saw five more individuals in the same location after the one that Mae caught.

The Johnson’s Big Butterfly Day was not just fun for the family, but also contributed towards a good cause. Although they had planned the day a few weeks earlier, at the last minute they decided to tie it in with a fundraising challenge “to raise awareness for the project and the great work CVC is doing”.

“We proposed donating $5 per species anticipating about 20 species but offered to double the amount if 5 others matched our donation. We ended up confirming 24 species, and 6 people matched us … In the end we raised $960.” Wow! A big THANK YOU to Marc, Reagan, Mae, and Oscar as well as the six other contributors.

If the Johnsons have inspired you, more information about the CVC Foundation can be found here: https://cvcfoundation.ca/ - including information on how to donate as well as specific ongoing projects and campaigns.

Anotado en julio 06, lunes 19:02 por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

29 de junio de 2020

Observation of the week: June 22 - 28

Our fourth OOTW is this Northern Pearly Eye taking a drink, observed by user @geraldm.

Gerald first saw the Northern Pearly Eye resting in the shade, but it flew away before he got a photo. Soon after, he “found it sipping from a ceramic platter which had filled with rainwater”.

It may not have been intentional, but the ceramic dish in Gerald’s yard provided a great butterfly drinking station. Many butterflies drink water now and then – at mud puddles, or near the edges of streams and lakes. This behaviour helps them collect minerals and nutrients from the mud, and the waters can help cool and hydrate them on hot dry days.

If you’re interested in creating a butterfly drinking station in your yard, check out this great video from the University of Georgia.

Gerald is new to butterflying this year but is currently in second place on our leaderboard for the total number of species seen. Even more amazing is that all his observations have been made within five minutes of his home, on a property where he has planted various native trees and other plants over the years.

This year, Gerald is carrying his camera at the ready while working outside. He says: “I often see the butterflies and other insects flying about but like most people I had no idea what they are called. This blitz provided a great learning opportunity and a means of identifying and cataloguing what’s on the property.”

How many species can you find within five minutes of your house? The weather is looking great for Canada Day – I challenge you to get outside and see what you can find!

Anotado en junio 29, lunes 13:26 por lindseyjennings lindseyjennings | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

22 de junio de 2020

Observation of the week: June 15 - 21

This week’s Observation of the Week is this Little Wood Satyr from user @robeh. I especially like the second picture in her observation, where the sun is shining through the butterfly’s wings and you can see all the fuzzy hairs on its head.

While some butterflies can be difficult to get photos of, Robin (aka @robeh) says that “It was actually one of the easiest butterflies to observe and photograph and ultimately identify because it sat so still for such a (relatively) long time.” In addition, “It was the first, and I think so far only, tan/brown coloured butterfly that I have seen … Every other tan coloured insect that I pursued turned out to be a moth, so this is a nice change”.

Robin got some good luck with her Little Wood Satyr. These butterflies are known for their slow and bouncy flight, and their tendency to fly away into the trees quickly if you want to get close to them! They do occasionally stop to rest on leaves, which is how they are usually photographed. Little Wood Satyrs are seldomly observed on flowers – the adults rarely feed on nectar, and instead prefer tree sap, rotting fruit, and even aphid honeydew.

Little Wood Satyrs are one species in a group of butterflies in Ontario with prominent eyespots on their wings. These eyespots are thought to deter predators by making the butterfly look like a larger animal. It may be these big ‘eyes’, preference for wooded areas, and tendency to bounce around and drink sap that gives Little Wood Satyrs and other Satyr species their name – after the mythical beasts of Greek folklore.

Robin has been busy Butterfly Blitzing and says that the Little Wood Satyr “seems like about a hundred butterflies ago!”. I wish you all a week of a hundred butterflies!

Anotado en junio 22, lunes 15:26 por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de junio de 2020

Observation of the week – June 8-15, 2020

Happy Monday Butterfly Blitzers! We jumped from 17 to 29 species observed over the past week. It is so nice to see many of you have been out observing butterflies and taking pictures. The wonderful weather this weekend was helpful, too!

Our second observation of the week is this Arctic Skipper from user @sassarella1979.

Kristie (aka @sassarella1979) and her daughter Taya, 6, went for a hike on the Elora Cataract Trail on Friday. “It was Friday afternoon and it had been cold in the morning and warmed up by the afternoon. Wow, I felt like we were in a secret garden! The butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies were everywhere! The Arctic Skipper was relaxed.”

Kristie and Taya were not the only ones observing Arctic Skippers in the watershed this weekend. There were six observations of this species added to the Blitz over the past few days. This is a noticeable increase to the two observations submitted during the 2019 CVC Butterfly Blitz.

Arctic Skipper is a widespread species in North America, Europe and Asia, associated with the boreal and mixed deciduous forest ecozones that stretch across these areas. Despite its common name, Arctic Skipper is not actually found in the Arctic. It is known as the Chequered Skipper in Europe, a name which is both nicely descriptive of this butterfly’s appearance and less confusing geographically.

We often hear about species that are common in the U.S. and rare in Canada because they are at the edge of their range here. Arctic Skipper is one of the species where the opposite is true. Arctic Skipper is not found often south of the Waterloo area in Ontario, and it is considered a vulnerable species in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Arctic Skipper became more common in the northeastern U.S. in recent decades as it expanded its range to the south. However, it has recently become less common again in those areas, likely due to climate change.

Taya may be our youngest Butterfly Blitz participant ever. According to her mom, “Taya is at her best in nature. She is quiet, patient and engaged.”. The two of them have been enjoying their outings to find and take pictures of butterflies: “Butterflying has given us a chance to slow down and be present in nature. I’m even aware of the little things in nature I NEVER would’ve noticed before!”.

I hope that you all get a chance to slow down this week and spend some time with butterflies.

Anotado en junio 15, lunes 14:49 por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de junio de 2020

CVC Butterfly Blitz 2020 – Observation of the week #1

Welcome to our first Observation of the Week (OOTW) post for 2020! It was a wonderful weekend for butterflying, which was reflected in the big jump in observations added to the project in the last few days.

Our first OOTW for 2020 is this lovely shot of two Silvery Blue butterflies from @markwhitcombe. The photo caught our eye because of the combination of the blue upper sides of the wings of the butterfly in flight and the grey under sides of the butterfly on the plant.

Mark was out taking pictures of Mallards, using a Moment telephoto add-on lens to his smartphone, when he noticed the two butterflies. “I quickly took off the 2x telephoto lens, and tapped the 1x normal lens and took the first set of photos very quickly. The butterfly is very fast and restless! […] The male was making advances on the female, but she wasn’t receptive, and so after about 10 seconds flew off. Cathy spotted where they landed behind me, and I quickly turned around and bent over to take the other photos.”

Silvery Blue populations generally peak in Ontario around now, which explains why they are the most observed species in our project at the moment. They are currently distributed throughout most of the province, although they used to be found only further north. They have expanded their range southward over the past six decades, benefiting from the spread of non-native plants on which their caterpillars have adapted to feed. You can read summary of this expansion here.

The caterpillars of Silvery Blue butterflies eat plants in the legume family (Fabaceae), including vetch and clover. They can be different colours – from pink to green – depending on what they’re feeding on. And, like many caterpillars from the same family, Silvery Blue caterpillars can often be found with ants. They have an interdependent relationship, where the ants protect the caterpillars from enemies and the caterpillars provide a sweet honeydew liquid for the ants to eat.

Mark is the Chair of the local naturalist club Headwaters Nature and wrote about his observation for both their Facebook and Instagram pages. Mark says: “Later today, I’m heading back out to photograph vetch flowers using the macro lens. I’ll be paying attention to any eggs I see near the flowers!”
Happy butterflying!

Anotado en junio 09, martes 00:07 por lltimms lltimms | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

29 de mayo de 2020

Official CVC Butterfly Blitz start date tomorrow - May 30th!

Hello CVC Butterfly Blitz participants!

Although this project has been up and running for a while now, the official start date of the summer-long blitz is tomorrow - May 30th. We are presenting our last training webinar tomorrow; in combination with last weekend's training, you should all now be prepared to get outside and observe butterflies!

I will be resetting the start date of the iNaturalist project to begin on May 30th instead of April 1st, as it is currently set. Don't panic if you see a change in the leaderboard and the species counts. The date change is to be fair to those who are waiting until their training is complete before starting to look for butterflies, as well as those who have been waiting for the start date in our promotional materials.

I also would like to call your attention to two other CVC Butterfly Blitz 2020 projects on iNaturalist:

Creating these projects is a necessary (but confusing) step to ensure that we collect information on all butterflies observed in the watershed over the summer - even those sensitive species for which the observation coordinates are obscured. Details on why this is needed can be found here: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/help#placeindex

In the meantime, all you need to know is that the species you have observed is not a sensitive species you don't need to add it to any CVC Butterfly Blitz 2020 collection project - it will be automatically detected and added*.

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


  • unless you are using obscured coordinates for geoprivacy; in which case your observations may not be automatically included - contact me for more information

Anotado en mayo 29, viernes 20:43 por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario