Journal archives for August 2019

August 29, 2019

Butterfly Blitz Feedback Survey

Hello Butterfly Blitzers!

Once again, I’d like to say thank you for participating in our first butterfly blitz program in the Credit River Watershed! We appreciate all your time and efforts making observations, submitting timed surveys and participating in the one-day count. On iNaturalist, we observed 1153 individuals, 57 butterfly species and even spotted a couple of rare ones! Our observations are even more impressive when combined with the timed survey results (to be shared soon!) and the one-day count. If you still need to submit timed survey results, please contact Laura (ltimms). Congratulations to all of you on contributing valuable data to an under-served area of science!

We are continuously working to improve our events and programs and would appreciate your feedback. Please take two minutes to complete our survey: Your name will be entered into a draw to win an annual pass to Credit Valley and Toronto and Region Conservation Area Parks (if you provide your email address at the end of the survey)!

To stay informed about upcoming events, please sign up for CVC’s e-newsletter “Credit Valley Conversations” or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Thanks so much for your participation. We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Posted on August 29, 2019 12:58 by lchung lchung | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 13, 2019

Observation of the week – August 3-9, 2019

It’s about time that we featured a Monarch as our observation of the week! This one comes to us from user @alisonforde:

The Monarch has now taken over as the most observed species of the blitz and has surpassed the Red Admiral by quite a bit. This large and recognizable species is beloved by many, and is the second most observed species on iNaturalist in North America (having been recently surpassed by the Mallard).

This particular Monarch is a male – which you can tell by the two thickened black spots on the veins of the hind wing, where male Monarchs store the chemicals called pheromones that they use to attract females.

You may not be used to thinking of butterflies as aggressive, but male butterflies can be quite territorial; they will fly up and chasing away any other butterfly (or sometimes any other flying insect) that comes into the airspace above a good habitat patch. In fact, the other day I watched a male Monarch in my garden chase off a Robin from ‘his’ milkweed patch – not once, but twice!

Most people are familiar with the remarkable migration made by Monarchs each year. Did you know that two of the people who helped to figure out the whole story of Monarch migration were biologists from Toronto? Fred and Norah Urquhart studied Monarchs for years, and were perhaps the first people to run an insect-based citizen science project with their Monarch tagging project.

You can learn more about Monarch migration and Fred and Norah’s story in this Nature of Things episode:

Posted on August 13, 2019 12:48 by lltimms lltimms | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Can we get more than 56 species?

There are less than two weeks left in the 2019 Butterfly Blitz. We've collected so much wonderful data since June, but we've been stuck at the same number of species for a while now. Can we break that barrier?

First, a side note: you may notice that our project page says we're at 55 species. But, we're actually at 56 species. Last week few of us went out and we found a butterfly that is considered vulnerable in Ontario - the Black Dash (

Because it is a vulnerable species, the location of the observation is automatically obscured on iNaturalist. And, for variety of reasons, this means that the observation is not picked up by the Butterfly Blitz project. If you want to see the total count, including the location obscured records, you can check out this umbrella project:

(and now that we know how this works, next year we will set things up a bit differently!)

A few species that we haven't seen yet this year but that could be out there include:

  • Fritillaries other than Great Spangled Fritillary (e.g. Aphrodite, Silver-bordered, Meadow)
  • The species that like hackberries (American Snout, Hackberry Emperor, Tawny Emperor)
  • Coppers (e.g. American Copper, Bronze Copper)
  • Later season species (e.g. Common Buckeye, Fiery Skipper, Leonard's Skipper)

Some of these are somewhat rare species, but some good butterfly hunting might turn them up (if they're around). Are you up to the challenge?

Posted on August 13, 2019 18:48 by lltimms lltimms | 4 comments | Leave a comment

August 07, 2019

Wrap-up event planned for August 24th

Join us at Terra Cotta Conservation Area to celebrate the end of Credit Valley Conservation’s first summer-long Butterfly Blitz!

Where: Terra Cotta Conservation Area, Watershed Learning Centre
14452 Winston Churchill Blvd, Terra Cotta, ON L0P 1N0
When: August 24, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
RSVP: Please visit the CVC Events website to register for this event so that we know you're coming
(see Register Online link at bottom of the page)

We would like to thank everyone that contributed to Butterfly Blitz. Your observations helped expand our knowledge of the distribution of butterfly species in the Credit River Watershed.

At this event, Butterfly Blitz participants will gather to submit timed survey data sheets, hear an overview of the project results, discuss exciting field finds and marvel at some fantastic butterfly shots! Prizes will be awarded for the following categories: most species, rarest find, most observations and the lucky day prize.

The second half of the event will include a guided hike through the conservation area, with one last chance to find and submit butterfly observations for the 2019 Butterfly Blitz. There may even be a friendly competition between two hiking groups.

The general public is welcome to attend; admission to the park is free. Bring a reusable mug and/or water bottle. Light refreshments will be served.

Since the event is outdoors, remember to dress for the weather. Should the weather be unfavorable, be sure to check our social media and website for cancellation information or call 905-670-1615 ext. 221. If you have accessibility requirements, please notify Lindsey Jennings (, 905-670-1615 ext. 445) to arrange accommodations.

Posted on August 07, 2019 16:01 by lltimms lltimms | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 16, 2019

Observation of the week – August 10-16, 2019

A Peck’s Skipper, seen by @carl-adam, is our Observation of the Week for August 10th to 16th:

Peck’s Skipper is our most commonly observed native skipper species, and it is currently tied with the introduced European Skipper for the number of observations in this year’s blitz.

I have to admit that I didn’t think very much of Peck’s Skipper before this year, but I have been charmed by this little brown butterfly during our blitz. I like the colour pattern on the underside of the wings, which is more interesting and distinctive than many of our other grass skippers. The ID note that I read in my Butterflies Through Binoculars field guide has stuck with me: Peck’s is a pointer, referring to the middle cell in the lighter area on the underside of the hindwing which points out towards the edge.

Peck’s Skipper can be found in both disturbed and more natural grassy areas – this year in our blitz it has been found in both Mississauga parks as well as northern watershed conservation areas. In addition, while Peck’s Skipper only has one generation per year in much of Ontario, in our region and areas further south it has two generations.

This extended life cycle plus its generalist habitat preferences are what makes it one of our most commonly observed skippers. And when I go out to look for butterflies in a disturbed area and I’m not finding very much, the sight of a few Peck’s Skippers can brighten my day and make me feel like my effort was worthwhile.

Have you gained a fondness for any particular species this summer? Let us know!

Posted on August 16, 2019 13:42 by lltimms lltimms | 1 comment | Leave a comment

August 06, 2019

Observation of the week – July 27 to August 2, 2019

User @volunteerles brings us this week’s OOTW – a lovely Banded Hairstreak:

Banded Hairstreaks can be hard to see or catch when they’re in flight, as they zig and zag all over the place. But when they’re stopped to feed – especially on milkweed, a favourite nectar plant – they’re easier to get a good look at. That’s how Leslie (aka @volunteerles) happened to see this individual:

“My first banded hairstreak species sighting was made in the meadow on the Todd Barnes Side Trail of the Bruce Trail, near Limehouse. Just an iPhone was used for the photo, as this butterfly was kind enough to stay still, feeding on the milkweed flower for me.”

Like other hairstreaks, adult Banded Hairstreaks seem to spend most of their time up in forest canopies, coming down only one or two times per day to feed. For every hairstreak butterfly that you see at ground level, it is likely that there are many more around up high above your head.

Regarding the location of her sighting, Leslie would like to share that “This meadow is stewarded by the amazing work of the Toronto Bruce Trail Club Biodiversity Team. They have planted native plants to feed and host butterflies and other insects”. And if you feel like staying still, “There are even benches and chairs to stop and let the butterflies come to you.“

If you’re interested in learning more about the Toronto Bruce Trail Club and their Biodiversity Team, you can check out their website here:

And did you know that the Bruce Trail Conservancy also has an iNaturalist project? If you are ever out making observations along the trail, consider joining the project and adding to their work.

Posted on August 06, 2019 12:34 by lltimms lltimms | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 21, 2019

Reminder: Wrap-up event this Saturday!

We're in the final days of the Butterfly Blitz - but there is still time to get a few more observations in!

And, there is also still time to register for the wrap-up event being held this Saturday. We'd love to see you there - please visit the link below and let us know if you are coming.

Where: Terra Cotta Conservation Area, Watershed Learning Centre
14452 Winston Churchill Blvd, Terra Cotta, ON L0P 1N0
When: August 24, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
RSVP: Please visit the CVC Events website to register for this event so that we know you're coming
(see Register Online link at bottom of the page)


Posted on August 21, 2019 17:33 by lltimms lltimms | 2 comments | Leave a comment