Tom's Blog

Monday, June 23, 2008

Butterflies at Pleasant Valley Conservancy

One of the joys of having your "own" natural area is meeting people who are also enjoying the site. On Saturday I was doing my weekly survey of our Sandhill Crane Wet Prairie and met Joan Braune and Todd Highsmith, who were doing butterflies. When I saw them they were focussed on a Baltimore checkerspot, a species that is found in wetlands. Its preferred food source is turtlehead (Chelone glabra), and we have quite a lot of this handsome plant near where they were looking. Although the turtlehead was not in flower yet, there was a great nectar source nearby in a large gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa) clone. When learning about this butterfly, I was happy that we had decided to leave that dogwood clone when we were clearing out the invasives in this area. (Although gray dogwood is native, it is quite invasive, and we have cleared most of the large patches that we have found in our savannas.)

From Joan I learned about the Wisconsin Butterfly web site, which is an outstanding example of the kind of web site that builds community by encouraging folks to contribute photos, sightings, and other observations about butterflies. Actually, it isn't restricted to butterflies, as they also feature dragonflies and damselflies.

After clicking around on this site awhile, I discovered Joan's post of their visit to Pleasant Valley Conservancy. This has a list of all the butterflies they saw on Saturday. Check it out.


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