Noticias del proyecto CVC Butterfly Blitz

16 de agosto de 2019

Observation of the week – August 10-16, 2019

A Peck’s Skipper, seen by @carl-adam, is our Observation of the Week for August 10th to 16th:

Peck’s Skipper is our most commonly observed native skipper species, and it is currently tied with the introduced European Skipper for the number of observations in this year’s blitz.

I have to admit that I didn’t think very much of Peck’s Skipper before this year, but I have been charmed by this little brown butterfly during our blitz. I like the colour pattern on the underside of the wings, which is more interesting and distinctive than many of our other grass skippers. The ID note that I read in my Butterflies Through Binoculars field guide has stuck with me: Peck’s is a pointer, referring to the middle cell in the lighter area on the underside of the hindwing which points out towards the edge.

Peck’s Skipper can be found in both disturbed and more natural grassy areas – this year in our blitz it has been found in both Mississauga parks as well as northern watershed conservation areas. In addition, while Peck’s Skipper only has one generation per year in much of Ontario, in our region and areas further south it has two generations.

This extended life cycle plus its generalist habitat preferences are what makes it one of our most commonly observed skippers. And when I go out to look for butterflies in a disturbed area and I’m not finding very much, the sight of a few Peck’s Skippers can brighten my day and make me feel like my effort was worthwhile.

Have you gained a fondness for any particular species this summer? Let us know!

Ingresado el 16 de agosto de 2019 por lltimms lltimms | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario

13 de agosto de 2019

Can we get more than 56 species?

There are less than two weeks left in the 2019 Butterfly Blitz. We've collected so much wonderful data since June, but we've been stuck at the same number of species for a while now. Can we break that barrier?

First, a side note: you may notice that our project page says we're at 55 species. But, we're actually at 56 species. Last week few of us went out and we found a butterfly that is considered vulnerable in Ontario - the Black Dash (

Because it is a vulnerable species, the location of the observation is automatically obscured on iNaturalist. And, for variety of reasons, this means that the observation is not picked up by the Butterfly Blitz project. If you want to see the total count, including the location obscured records, you can check out this umbrella project:

(and now that we know how this works, next year we will set things up a bit differently!)

A few species that we haven't seen yet this year but that could be out there include:
- Fritillaries other than Great Spangled Fritillary (e.g. Aphrodite, Silver-bordered, Meadow)
- The species that like hackberries (American Snout, Hackberry Emperor, Tawny Emperor)
- Coppers (e.g. American Copper, Bronze Copper)
- Later season species (e.g. Common Buckeye, Fiery Skipper, Leonard's Skipper)

Some of these are somewhat rare species, but some good butterfly hunting might turn them up (if they're around). Are you up to the challenge?

Ingresado el 13 de agosto de 2019 por lltimms lltimms | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Observation of the week – August 3-9, 2019

It’s about time that we featured a Monarch as our observation of the week! This one comes to us from user @alisonforde:

The Monarch has now taken over as the most observed species of the blitz and has surpassed the Red Admiral by quite a bit. This large and recognizable species is beloved by many, and is the second most observed species on iNaturalist in North America (having been recently surpassed by the Mallard).

This particular Monarch is a male – which you can tell by the two thickened black spots on the veins of the hind wing, where male Monarchs store the chemicals called pheromones that they use to attract females.

You may not be used to thinking of butterflies as aggressive, but male butterflies can be quite territorial; they will fly up and chasing away any other butterfly (or sometimes any other flying insect) that comes into the airspace above a good habitat patch. In fact, the other day I watched a male Monarch in my garden chase off a Robin from ‘his’ milkweed patch – not once, but twice!

Most people are familiar with the remarkable migration made by Monarchs each year. Did you know that two of the people who helped to figure out the whole story of Monarch migration were biologists from Toronto? Fred and Norah Urquhart studied Monarchs for years, and were perhaps the first people to run an insect-based citizen science project with their Monarch tagging project.

You can learn more about Monarch migration and Fred and Norah’s story in this Nature of Things episode:

Ingresado el 13 de agosto de 2019 por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de agosto de 2019

Wrap-up event planned for August 24th

Join us at Terra Cotta Conservation Area to celebrate the end of Credit Valley Conservation’s first summer-long Butterfly Blitz!

Where: Terra Cotta Conservation Area, Watershed Learning Centre
14452 Winston Churchill Blvd, Terra Cotta, ON L0P 1N0
When: August 24, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
RSVP: Please visit the CVC Events website to register for this event so that we know you're coming
(see Register Online link at bottom of the page)

We would like to thank everyone that contributed to Butterfly Blitz. Your observations helped expand our knowledge of the distribution of butterfly species in the Credit River Watershed.

At this event, Butterfly Blitz participants will gather to submit timed survey data sheets, hear an overview of the project results, discuss exciting field finds and marvel at some fantastic butterfly shots! Prizes will be awarded for the following categories: most species, rarest find, most observations and the lucky day prize.

The second half of the event will include a guided hike through the conservation area, with one last chance to find and submit butterfly observations for the 2019 Butterfly Blitz. There may even be a friendly competition between two hiking groups.

The general public is welcome to attend; admission to the park is free. Bring a reusable mug and/or water bottle. Light refreshments will be served.

Since the event is outdoors, remember to dress for the weather. Should the weather be unfavorable, be sure to check our social media and website for cancellation information or call 905-670-1615 ext. 221. If you have accessibility requirements, please notify Lindsey Jennings (, 905-670-1615 ext. 445) to arrange accommodations.

Ingresado el 07 de agosto de 2019 por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de agosto de 2019

Observation of the week – July 27 to August 2, 2019

User @volunteerles brings us this week’s OOTW – a lovely Banded Hairstreak:

Banded Hairstreaks can be hard to see or catch when they’re in flight, as they zig and zag all over the place. But when they’re stopped to feed – especially on milkweed, a favourite nectar plant – they’re easier to get a good look at. That’s how Leslie (aka @volunteerles) happened to see this individual:

“My first banded hairstreak species sighting was made in the meadow on the Todd Barnes Side Trail of the Bruce Trail, near Limehouse. Just an iPhone was used for the photo, as this butterfly was kind enough to stay still, feeding on the milkweed flower for me.”

Like other hairstreaks, adult Banded Hairstreaks seem to spend most of their time up in forest canopies, coming down only one or two times per day to feed. For every hairstreak butterfly that you see at ground level, it is likely that there are many more around up high above your head.

Regarding the location of her sighting, Leslie would like to share that “This meadow is stewarded by the amazing work of the Toronto Bruce Trail Club Biodiversity Team. They have planted native plants to feed and host butterflies and other insects”. And if you feel like staying still, “There are even benches and chairs to stop and let the butterflies come to you.“

If you’re interested in learning more about the Toronto Bruce Trail Club and their Biodiversity Team, you can check out their website here:

And did you know that the Bruce Trail Conservancy also has an iNaturalist project? If you are ever out making observations along the trail, consider joining the project and adding to their work.

Ingresado el 06 de agosto de 2019 por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

29 de julio de 2019

Observation of the week – July 20-26, 2019

This week we’re highlighting the most commonly observed species of 2019 for our OOTW – the Red Admiral – seen here, in this lovely photo by user @marcjohnson:

The Red Admiral is a migrant butterfly. Unlike our resident species, it generally cannot* survive the winters here even as a sheltered egg or pupa. However, Red Admiral butterflies move up to our area each spring from more southern regions, taking advantage of the abundant habitat and food resources. The species goes through at least two generations while here, laying eggs on nettle plants that the caterpillars then munch up.

Some years there are not very many Red Admirals around and some years there are many – and this is definitely one year where there is no shortage of Red Admirals! There have been almost 1100 Red Admirals reported on iNaturalist from Ontario so far this year. Notably, this is higher than the number of Monarchs that have been reported, which is generally the number one reported species on iNaturalist.

In addition to the large numbers of adult butterflies, they seem to be breeding in larger numbers than usual, as noted in these observations of caterpillars:

We’ll have to wait till the end of the season to see how the numbers add up, and to see how 2019 compares to 2012 when the large numbers of Red Admirals was the subject of several news stories (e.g.

The Red Admiral may be a very common species this year, but don’t let that distract you from appreciating its beauty. I especially love the view it presents with its wings closed - with the grey-brown mottled hind wing and the striking pinky-red, blue, and white on its forewing.

Is there a common butterfly that you find beautiful? Let us know!

* there is some evidence that some individuals can survive the winters here, especially in mild winters - but this is still probably more of the exception than the rule

Ingresado el 29 de julio de 2019 por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

24 de julio de 2019

We're over 50 species!

Good morning butterfly blitzers!

We passed the 50 species mark yesterday - as of this morning, we're at 53 species and 525 observations. This is way higher than the stats for this date last year - 121 observations of 33 species. Hip, hip, hooray!

You're all doing great work out there taking pictures of the butterflies you see. I love opening up my computer in the morning to see what you've been up to the day before. So, here's a big THANK YOU for all of your efforts so far.

If you haven't had a chance to get out as much as you'd like to, don't worry; there's still one month left in the project. In fact, Saturday looks like a good day to go out butterflying ...

Happy trails!

Ingresado el 24 de julio de 2019 por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

22 de julio de 2019

Observation of the week – July 13-19, 2019

This week’s pick for OOTW is this Clouded Sulphur, observed by @betcrooks:

One thing I love about this observation – and most others made by Laurie (aka @betcrooks) – is the detailed field notes that she provides. These records of behaviour, plant associations, observation techniques, etc. can be very useful to both professional and citizen scientists. And they help build the sense of community in our Butterfly Blitz project as well as for iNaturalist in general.

Laurie says that she saw this butterfly while out walking last week, and immediately took a picture:

“I secretly hope to observe an 'accidental' rare Sulphur one day so I try for clear photos of each one I encounter.

“I approached the butterfly slowly, stopping to take more photos every few yards. It moved a few times but I was able to get a reasonably clear view of the underside of the wings before it flew up to challenge a Cabbage White. I have some poor photos of it in flight, too. Top views of Sulphurs can be helpful to sort the Orange Sulphurs from the Cloudeds.

“This was my first Clouded Sulphur of the year which is quite surprising to me. It seems to be a poor year for the over-wintering resident butterflies but a good year for migrants and irruptants. I've seen more Monarchs than Cabbage Whites this year!”

It’s not just Laurie - despite being a very common butterfly in our area, this is the only observation of the Clouded Sulphur to date in the 2019 Butterfly Blitz. It is also one of only 10 observations of this species on iNaturalist for the Credit River Watershed from any year.

It’s still early in the season for the Clouded Sulphur, and the lack of observations from other years may be because people often overlook the common species when photographing butterflies. Another great example of this is the Cabbage White butterfly – over half of the local observations on iNaturalist of this species (14/23) are from this year, even though it is one of the most common species in our area.

To me, this is a great sign that people are getting out there and making observations to add to the Butterfly Blitz. Keep at it – we love seeing all of your finds, even the common species.

And you never know what other exciting things you might see while you’re out there, like this DeKay’s Brownsnake that Laurie saw while out butterflying:

Ingresado el 22 de julio de 2019 por lltimms lltimms | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario

12 de julio de 2019

Observation of the week – July 6-12, 2019

Our third observation of the week is this Eyed Brown seen by user @reuvenm: This observation is one of only three Eyed Browns on iNaturalist seen in the Credit River Watershed!

Reuven (aka @reuvenm) is currently in the lead for highest number of observations in the Butterfly Blitz – with 44 to date. He is an accomplished naturalist with extensive knowledge of the watershed, having previously worked for CVC doing natural areas surveys.

This Eyed Brown observation was no accident – Reuven went looking for it:
“For the butterfly blitz, I wanted to make a special effort to find some of our species that specialize in high-quality marsh habitats.

“I've previously encountered mostly small remaining areas of such habitat at Erindale Park in Mississauga and some sites in Caledon, but didn't know of any sizable areas within the watershed that were readily accessible to the public. Doing some research, the trails at Alton Grange looked good and last Saturday I headed out to see what I could find. Turns out that there is some excellent marsh habitat there! Despite extremely muggy, overcast weather, I was successful in finding numerous Eyed Brown among several other notable butterflies […]. I definitely intend to return to this spot very soon in better weather in search of other marsh butterflies that might be there like Baltimore Checkerspot, Silver-bordered Fritillary, Bronze Copper, Black Dash or Mulberry Wing.”

If you know where to look, the Eyed Brown can be quite locally abundant, even though it is not a particularly common or widespread butterfly in the Credit River Watershed. The caterpillars of Eyed Brown feed on native sedges, and the adults feed on nectar plants like Swamp Milkweed and Joe-Pye Weed. Many of the wetlands that supported these species have been lost from southern Ontario.

The conservation status of the Eyed Brown has been assessed as secure both provincially and nationally; however, this species may be a local species of conservation concern. A quick look at the Ontario Butterfly Atlas shows that there were many more observations of the Eyed Brown in our area in earlier decades, when wetland habitat was more abundant: Currently, it seems restricted to the few high-quality patches that remain.

With the help of all the wonderful citizen scientists participating in the Butterfly Blitz, we aim to collect the data necessary to complete local conservation status assessments for all butterflies in the watershed within the next few years. So, please continue getting out there and looking for butterflies – your efforts will be put to good use!

Ingresado el 12 de julio de 2019 por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de julio de 2019

Observation of the week – June 29 to July 5, 2019

Our second observation of the week is this lovely shot of a Hobomok Skipper feeding on bladder campion by user @bob15noble:

I love how you can see the proboscis ("tongue”) of the butterfly extended into the flower, and all of the little details on the wings and body. It’s no surprise that this picture is such a good one; Bob (aka @bob15noble) is known for his excellent macrophotography skills and has contributed over 2600 observations to iNaturalist.

Bob saw this skipper during the one-day butterfly count on June 29th, on the Elora Cataract Trail just west of Shaw’s Creek Road. About the observation, Bob says: “I originally thought that it was some kind of Duskywing but wasn't sure of the ID, so I wanted to be sure that I got a picture. It was feeding so it wasn't as skittish as it could be. When it did settle on the Campion I managed to get a couple of good shots from a low angle.”

Later on, Bob was able to use his picture to refine his identification, saying “I realized that it was a dark form of the Hobomok Skipper known as Pocahontas that only occurs in females”.

This colour variation is relatively uncommon. To see how different the two forms are, check out this observation of a Hobomok Skipper with the more common colouring, also seen by Bob in the same area:

The one-day butterfly count was a resounding success. Eighteen butterfly blitzers went out and visited nine different sites. In total, they observed 476 butterflies from 26 different species – including a few that have not been seen (yet) by our iNaturalist users. The data will be contributed to the North American Butterfly Association butterfly count program ( With replication over time, it will provide useful information on population trends in our area.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the one-day count, and to all that continue to add observations to our project. Happy blitzing!

Ingresado el 09 de julio de 2019 por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario