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Bird House Building 2011

15th Annual Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park Butterfly Count


Location: Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park, Red Deer River Valley, east of Huxley.
At 10 AM, when the Count started at the Upper Viewpoint/Parking Lot, it was sunny and 22 C. Five species of butterflies were seen. We drove down to the picnic area at 10:35. It was sunny and up to 24 C, for the remainder of the Count. We had lunch at noon then split into groups and covered separate areas, ending at 4 PM. Wildflowers were in abundance. Mosquitoes were seldom a problem. Kilometers on foot estimated to be over 10. This was the fifteenth time this event has been held.
The participants (46) were John Acorn, ElizabethBagdan, KurtBagdan, Ann Bird, Charley Bird (Compiler), Heather Bird, Jim Brohman, Lori Brohman, Candice Callum, Aaron Davidson, Fay Davidson, Carol Davies-Pedersen, Les Dobos, Gail Hughes, Alison Ireland, Cam Ireland, John Ireland, David Lawrie, Jeanine LeBlanc, Joy LeBlanc, Peter LeBlanc, Brian Leibel, Claudia Lipski, Dermot MacDougall, Iain MacDougall, Sandra MacDougall, Rhonda MacKay, Sara Munden (Park Ranger), Alyssa Nordstrom, Myrna Pearman, Chris Pfeifle, Vic Romanyshyn, Mary Roy, Beth Schnell, Tim Schowalter, Barb Smith, Lola Stewart, Brodie Vale, Brooklyn Vale, Dean Vale, Jayden Vale, Kenton Vale, Sheila Vale, Tracey Vale, Anna White and Ashley White. After lunch. because of the large number of participants, we divided up into three teams, one lead by John Acorn, one by David Lawrie and Vic Romanyshyn, and one by Charley Bird while a small group watched near the picnic tables.


SPECIES OBSERVED – The names and order follow that of G.R. Pohl et al., 2010, An Annotated List of the Lepidoptera of Alberta, Canada (ZooKeys 38, 1-549, Special Issue).
Epargyreusclarus (E. t
ityrus) (Silver-spotted Skipper) – 2
Pyrguscommunis (Checkered Skipper) – 3
Oarismagarita (Garita Skipper) – 49
Politesthemistocles (Tawny-edged Skipper) – 5
Polites mystic (Long Dash Skipper) – 3
dodi (Dod’s Old World Swallowtail – 27
Papiliocanadensis (Canadian Tiger Swallowtail) – 2

Pontia (Pieris) occidentalis (Western Checkered White) – 5
Glaucopsychelygdamus (Silvery Blue) – 16
Plebejus (Lycaeides)
melissa (Melissa Blue) – 4
Aricia (Plebejus)
saepiolus (Greenish Blue) – 6
Icariciashasta (Shasta Blue) – 11
Basilarchiaarthemis (White Admiral) – 11
Speyeriacybele pseudocarpen
teri (Great Spangled Fritillary) – 1
Speyeria aphrodite (Aphrodite Fritillary) – 1
Speyeriahesperis (
atlantis lais) (Northwestern Fritillary) – 23
Speyeria spp. – 1
Nymphalis antiopa (Mourning Cloak) – 1
Polygonia progne (Gray Comma) – 1
Phyciodes batesii (Tawny Crescent) – 7
Phyciodes cocyta (Northern Crescent) – 12
Phyciodes spp. – 5
Coenonympha inornata benjamini (Common Ringlet) - 37
Three dragonflies were observed: Aeschnainterrupta (Variable Darner), Ophiogomphusseverus (Pale Snaketail) and Sympetrum
internum (Cherry-faced Meadowhawk). Two damselflies were noticed: Enallagma boreale (Boreal Bluet) and Lestes disjunctus (Common Spreadwing).
General Comments: An excellent turnout with 46 observers, exceeding that of the 42 who took part in 2012 and the highest number of participants ever for the count. Twenty-one species of skippers and butterflies and 128 individuals were seen. One species, Polygoniaprogne, netted by Dermot MacDougall, had not been seen on any of the previous counts. Many participants had nets. The Countbeing in a Provincial
Park, was catch, identify and release. All agreed that this Park is one of the most beautiful in Alberta and all hoped that, with continued good management, it will remain so. Lots of scenery and flower photos were taken.
The flight times of butterflies oftencorresponds with the flowering times of various plants, therefore, notes were kept of the plants that were seen in flower. These included: Achillea millefolium (Yarrow), Anemonecanadensis (Canada Anemone), Campanula rotundifolia (Harebell), Eriogonum
flavum (Yellow Umbrella-plant), Gaillardia aristata (Brown-eyed Susan), Galium boreale (Northern Bedstraw), Guttierezia sarothrae (Broomweed), , Hymenoxys richardsonii (Colorado Rubber-plant), Lilium philadelphicum (Western Wood Lily), Linum lewisii (Wild Blue Flax), Melilotus alba (White Sweet-clover), M. officinalis (Yellow Sweet-clover), Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot), Opuntia fragilis (Fragile Prickly-pear Cactus), O. polyacantha (Prickly-pear Cactus), Penstemon gracilis (Lilac-flowered Beardtongue), Petalostemon purpureum (Purple Prairie-clover), Potentilla anserina (Silverweed), Potentilla arguta (White Cinquefoil),  Psoralea esculenta (Indian Bread-root), Rosa acicularis (Prickly Rose), Sisyrinchium montanum (Blue-eyed Grass), Sphaeralcea coccinea (Scarlet Mallow), Stellaria longifolia (Long-leaved Chickweed), Symphoricarpos occidentalis (Buckbrush), Taraxacum officinale (Common Dandelion), Tragopogon dubius (Goat’s-beard) and Vicia americana (Wild Vetch).
Charles Bird

Dry Island Buffalo Jump Butterfly Count

For full report go here

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