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More about Butterflies including Damselflies, Dragonflies and Moths

The Carden Alvar Butterfly and Dragonfly counts were held this past weekend, July 17th and 18th, celebrating its 24th official year. We have Bob to thank for his continued dedication and commitment to this program, from organizing teams behind the scenes to helping beginners identify these beautiful creatures. Bob started the counts in 1998 and has organized them every year since the first count, even over the last two summers under Covid restrictions.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada will be completing the official tally from each team and submitting the data to the North American Butterfly Counts for Eastern Canada. The counts provide important information about the health of these beautiful insects and the condition of our environment. Dragonflies and butterflies are a key part of the food chain as predators and prey and are essential pollinators.

Teams of 2-4 people were assigned a section of the Carden Alvar circle, along with data entry sheets and ID guides for the varying species. The guide lists the butterflies and dragonflies found on the Alvar making it a little easier for beginners. Each team has an experienced 'team captain' to ensure proper identification is made.

European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola) Photo Credit - Gary Yankech

Striped Hairstreak (Satyrium liparops) Photo Credit - Gary Yankech

Slaty Skimmer female (Libellula incesta) Photo Credit - Gary Yankech

Slaty Skimmer Male (Libellula incesta) Photo Credit - Gary Yankech

Team observing and identifying Butterflies and Dragonflies. Photo Credit - Michael Elmer

We offered overnight camping for participants of the count, here at the nature centre. A moth observation night was held on Friday evening. Gary Yankech, an enthusiastic naturalist and photographer set up the lights and equipment and identified over 90 different species of moths. He even had a live trap so we were able to look at and photograph moths the following morning before releasing them back into the wild.

Moth observations set-up after dark. Photo credit- Michael Elmer

Once married underwing moth (Catocala unijuga) Photo Credit - Gary Yankech

Virgin tiger moth (Grammia virgo) Photo credit - Gary Yankech

These activities are great for all ages, from children wanting to see and learn about butterflies, dragonflies and moths to naturalists who have a passion for sustaining our environment. From novices in the field to biodiversity scientists, all are welcome. It is a wonderful opportunity to make a genuine contribution.

We will be posting beautiful photographs and videos of these captivating insects on our website later this week.

We are having a donation-based workshop on Saturday, July 24th at 3:00 pm. about the Monarch butterfly. We will be learning about the various stages, from the larva stage to the pupa stage and finally the imago stage (the butterfly). If the timing is right we will be tagging and releasing 1 or 2 butterflies. All so fascinating! Please join us for this informative and exciting event. Contact us at to register. We are limiting the workshop to 15 participants.

2021-06-30 S.W. Catepillar

Photo credit- Ryan Lamoureux

Hand Release Monarch Butterfly

Photo credit- Ryan Lamoureux

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