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Annual Butterfly Count at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge
Northeast Region, July 14, 2018
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Monarch caterpillar on Swamp Milkweed
Monarch caterpillar on Swamp Milkweed - Photo Credit: USFWS - Ken Witkowski
Pearl Crescent
Pearl Crescent - Photo Credit: USFWS - Ken Witkowski
Eyed Brown
Eyed Brown - Photo Credit: USFWS - Ken Witkowski
NABA volunteer Joe Burgiel looking over a patch of Dogbane
NABA volunteer Joe Burgiel looking over a patch of Dogbane - Photo Credit: USFWS - Ken Witkowski

Refuge staff and volunteers from the North Jersey chapter of the North American Butterfly Association took to the field on July 14 to conduct the 19th annual butterfly census on the refuge. Expectations at the start of the day were tempered by the fact that the weather conditions in the weeks leading up to the count were not favorable for butterflies. Much of April and May were cold and wet followed by a hot dry spell in early July. In spite of this, we recorded a total of 41 distinct species which is slightly above average and 990 individuals and while this number is low compared to historical totals, it was a significant improvement from the two previous counts. Fifty two monarchs were recorded which is well below the 10 year average but it is still encouraging compared to some recent year counts. The most numerous butterfly of the day was the usually very common Pearl Crescent with 508 tallied. This is well shy of our record high count but it is the highest total since 2008.


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