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Annual Butterfly Count at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge
Northeast Region, July 12, 2014
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Silver-spotted Skipper nectaring on Common Milkweed - a new high count for this species was recorded on this day
Silver-spotted Skipper nectaring on Common Milkweed - a new high count for this species was recorded on this day - Photo Credit: Linda Scrima
Dion Skupper - one of the less common species seen on the count
Dion Skupper - one of the less common species seen on the count - Photo Credit: USFWS
Fred Weber surveying a patch of milkweed
Fred Weber surveying a patch of milkweed - Photo Credit: Linda Scrima

The 15th annual butterfly count at the Wallkill River NWR was held on Saturday July 12. Eight local members of the North Jersey chapter of the North American Butterfly Association joined refuge staff bio-tech Ken Witkowski for an exhaustive day in the field identifying species and counting individual butterflys. The hardworking team identified 42 species and counted 1,139 individual butterflies. The final count was a significant increase from last year (when we had our lowest ever number of butterflys) but it is still well below our 15 year average. Numbers of monarch butterflies continued to be low but was better than expected with 18 counted. The 15 year average is 55. Baltimore checkerspots, which are one of the most sought after by butterfly enthusiasts, made a good showing with a total of 26 observed. Despite low numbers, we recorded new high counts for two species - silver-spotted skipper(63) and mulberrywing (11). The most numerous butterfly on the count was pearl crescent with 331 tallied. The number of species of grass skippers was also better than average. These count totals are entered into the national database maintained by NABA.


Contact Info: Ken Witkowski, 973-702-7266 ext. 14, kenneth_witkowski@fws.gov



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