Tom's Blog

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Great butterfly trip

Kathie Brock, Ann Thering, and Karl Legler
Yesterday the Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Association (SWBA; a chapter of the North American Butterfly Association) led a field trip to Pleasant Valley Conservancy. The weather and the butterflies cooperated and it was a great trip.The leader was butterfly photographer Ann Thering. Also present were Dorothy and Karl Legler, butterfly experts and stalwarts of the Wisconsin group.

The trip focused on butterflies of our wetlands and wet mesic prairies. Most of the time was spent along the fire break between the Valley Prairie and the marsh. The original plan had been to cover a lot more ground, but there were so many butterflies in this area that there was no need to go further.

The trip probably benefited greatly from the great burns we had had in early March. Because of the favorable early spring weather, we were able to burn both the Valley Prairie and the marsh on March 13.

Here is Ann's preliminary list of sighting:

  • Clouded Sulphur (8+)
  • Orange Sulphur (6+)
  • Bronze Copper (1)
  • Banded Hairstreak (1)
  • Gray Hairstreak (1)
  • Eastern Tailed-Blue (3)
  • ‘Summer’ Spring Azure (2)
  • Great Spangled Fritillary (20+)
  • Aphrodite Fritillary (1)
  • Meadow Fritillary (3)
  • Silvery Checkerspot (1)
  • Baltimore Checkerspot (50+)
  • Compton Tortoiseshell (1)
  • American Lady (2)
  • Red Admiral (1)
  • Common Buckeye (2)
  • Viceroy (1)
  • Eyed Brown (2)
  • Little Wood-Satyr (1)
  • Common Wood-Nymph (2)
  • Monarch (5)
  • Silver-spotted Skipper (4)
  • Least Skipper (5)
  • European Skipper (6)
  • Long Dash (1)
One of the favorites was the Baltimore checkerspot, a not common species but one that was especially prolific yesterday. The caterpillars of this species feed almost exclusively on turtlehead (Chelone glabra), a wetland species that seems to benefit from prescribed burns.

This is the third year that SWBA has led a trip to Pleasant Valley Conservancy. We are pleased to host these trips and are grateful for all the information on butterflies that they give us.


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