Archivos de Diario para mayo 2021

27 de mayo de 2021

Observation of the week – May 15 to 21, 2021

The second OOTW of the 2021 Butterfly Blitz is this Wild Indigo Duskywing seen by participant @bugsrock.

Trudy (aka @bugsrock) managed to snap this photo while on an extended stakeout. She says: “That shot was taken in the valley near my neighbourhood early on a Saturday morning after spending quite some time staring at the meadow hoping to see butterflies and photographing lots of other bugs. Butterfly photography takes a lot more patience than the photography of other bugs! I sat still for quite some time in the area where I had seen the Wild Indigo Duskywing and waited to identify an area where it tended to land and then moved into that area to wait.”

Once she had the picture she had been waiting for, Trudy worked on figuring out what butterfly it was. “I used iNaturalist to ID to the level of Duskywing and looked at the ROM guide but needed help from an expert on iNat to get it to the next level. I’m still not sure how to tell the subtle differences between all the Duskywings!”

If you attended the training webinars on May 8th, you will remember that I said that Duskywing skippers can be hard to identify. They are all dark brown with some amount of gray and light brown mottling and white spots on their wings. And they tend to fly away quickly when disturbed, making them hard to photograph.

There are ten species of Duskywings in Ontario, but only four are likely to be found in the Credit River Watershed. Of those four, the Wild Indigo Duskywing is by far the most common – but it was not always that way. Wild Indigo Duskywings used to be limited to a few spots in southwestern Ontario. So, what happened?

The caterpillars of Wild Indigo Duskywings feed on wild indigo plants (Baptisia tinctorum) and other related native species like lupines. But in recent decades they have also started feeding widely on crown vetch (Securigera varia). Crown vetch is an introduced species; it was widely planted across Ontario and other parts of eastern North America for roadside erosion control starting in the 1950s.

When relying on their native host plants, Wild Indigo Duskywings were found in open woods and barrens and were never that abundant. But with a plentiful new food source spread throughout their range, they have become much more common and are found in almost any open habitat.

Wild Indigo Duskywings are not the only native butterfly species that have added an introduced food source to their diet. This table lists 29 species in Massachusetts that are known switchers, most of which also occur in Ontario.

Although they have become much more common in our area, do not assume that every Duskywing that you see is a Wild Indigo Duskywing. We also have Juvenal’s, Columbine, and Dreamy Duskywings – the first two of which are easily confused with Wild Indigo Duskywing.

To help with the identification try to get photos from different angles and note the surrounding habitat and which host plants are present. And, like Trudy did, you can get help from experts and other Butterfly Blitz participants on iNaturalist. Do you have any Duskywing identification tips to share? Please let us know in the comments!

Anotado en 27 de mayo de 2021 a las 12:14 PM por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de mayo de 2021

It's going to be a beautiful weekend!

Happy Friday Butterfly Blitz participants!

After 7 days of this year's project, we're sitting at 16 observations of 3 species - a pretty good start.

But, I just checked the forecast for the next two days and it looks like its going to be BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY WEATHER!! So please, get outside and see what you can see. Use all the skills you learned in our training webinars, or exercise the expertise you've already got.

I can't wait to see what you find!

Have a good weekend,
Laura

Anotado en 14 de mayo de 2021 a las 06:14 PM por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

31 de mayo de 2021

Observation of the week – May 22-28, 2021

Our third OOTW for the 2021 Butterfly Blitz is this lovely photo of a Pearl Crescent by @marcjohnson.

Marc will be familiar to those of you who participated in the 2020 Butterfly Blitz. Working with his family, Marc won the prize last year for the most observations. The Johnsons traveled all over the Credit River Watershed in search of butterfly species in different habitats, and even made a special Canada Day challenge for themselves to spot as many species as possible.

To see this butterfly, Marc and his family went to one of their favourite butterfly spots – an area of Silver Creek Conservation Area where they’ve had good butterfly success in the past.

Marc says: “I netted the beast knowing it was a crescent of some type given the colour, size and slow flight pattern just above the vegetation.” There are three species of crescents in our area – Pearl, Northern, and Tawny. To identify this one, Marc noted that the butterfly “was very dark on the upper side, with lots of thick black veining, including on the upper side of the hindwing. It seemed like the stereotypical Pearl Crescent to me. It was nice to see one that looked so clear as I struggle a little with separating the crescents.

Although they’re pretty, Marc admits that crescents are some of least favourite butterflies. I will admit that crescents also confuse me. And we are not the only ones that feel that way.

Pearl and Northern Crescents used to be considered one species and were only identified as distinct in the early 1990s. Most field guides comment on how difficult the species are to separate, especially females. BugGuide even suggests that the identity of published photos of crescents is debatable! Everyone seems to use slightly different characteristics to tell them apart, and it can be frustrating to feel like you’ve figured it out with one butterfly only to have it fall apart with the next one.

Sometimes its can be more rewarding to admit that you just don’t know. While researching this post, I came across this lovely little bit of writing about the virtue of uncertainty, specifically relating to Northern and Pearl Crescents. The author, Bryan Pfeiffer, suggests that not knowing the answer can keep us humble and remind us of all the questions that remain to be answered about insects, biology, and science as a whole!

Its possible that future research will lead to better separation of crescent butterflies, so I will be sure to take the best photos I can every time I make a crescent observation. But for now, I’m also resolving to be happy with calling them crescents and to embrace that little bit of uncertainty.

Anotado en 31 de mayo de 2021 a las 07:27 PM por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de mayo de 2021

Observation of the week: May 8 to 14, 2021

Hello Butterfly Blitz participants! Welcome to our Observation of the Week (OOTW) series of journal posts. Each week throughout the Butterfly Blitz we will choose one observation to feature.

We might choose the OOTW for a few different reasons – such as the composition of the photo, interesting behaviours shown, or a particularly rare species. If your observation is chosen, we’ll reach out to you to ask you a bit about your photo and how you found the butterfly.

If you’re a member of the project, you should get a notification on your iNaturalist home page each time an OOTW is published. You can also check on previous posts by clicking on the “project journal” button under the project description here.

Our first OOTW of the 2021 Butterfly Blitz is this Mourning Cloak, seen by @mckinleyfamily – an enthusiastic group of six Butterfly Blitz participants. The Mourning Cloak was seen by mom Tracy and the four kids while on a hike at Island Lake CA.

Tracy says: “We were getting close to the end of the hike, when I mentioned to my youngest daughter that it was bizarre that we hadn't noticed a single butterfly on our hike. A few seconds later, as if the butterflies had heard us, the kiddos called out ‘Two butterflies!’.”

The McKinley family were able to photograph this butterfly as it was resting on a tree trunk, which is a common spot to see Mourning Cloaks. This species gets most of their liquid nutrients from tree sap, mud, and decaying organic matter – including animal dung – and not from flower nectar.

Their feeding habits are one reason that Mourning Cloaks are one of the longest-lived butterflies in Canada – living for 10 to 12 months! Adult Mourning Cloaks spend the winter tucked into bark cracks and other crevices and emerge on the first warm spring days in March. Since there aren’t really any flowers around at that time of year, its handy to be able to use food sources that are readily available.

Tracy and he kids weren’t sure at first what butterfly species this was but were pleased to be able to put a name on it through iNaturalist. “We were all so thrilled, it was awesome! We were all very excited to participate in the Butterfly Blitz before this happened, after this beauty posed for us and the awesome iNaturalist community helped us identify her, we were even more excited to take part in this project!”.

The CVC Butterfly Blitz team is really looking forward to hearing more of your stories of discovery this summer as we share our observations of the week. Happy butterflying!

Anotado en 19 de mayo de 2021 a las 05:33 PM por lltimms lltimms | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario