Mariton: Butterfly Census

July 3, 2018

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

Mariton’s 28th Annual Butterfly Census was held on Saturday.  I was concerned because on the Tuesday walk we didn’t see many butterflies.  In fact, butterfly populations seem to be down so far this summer.  We did end up seeing 14 species (which is a lot more than I expected) and 73 individuals.  The species number is a little below average.  The individual number is about half the average (over the 28 years of recording), but better than last year.  Great Spangled Fritillaries were the most abundant, with Silver-spotted Skippers being the next species.

We are starting to see Monarch butterflies.  Carole got a great photo of a female laying an egg on a Common Milkweed leaf.

We also saw a number of Coral Hairstreaks.  The orange is really striking, but these are small butterflies and the binoculars and telescopic camera lenses come in handy.

American Lady on Common Milkweed

This American Lady was faded and missing part of a wing.  Still it is a lovely looking butterfly with its false eyespots on the hind wing.