Butterfly season comes to an end

Looks like that’s it for the butterfly season. I was thinking there might still be a lingering butterfly show up during one of the recent warm spells, but I haven’t heard of any for weeks now. The most recent reports I’ve received are from Sarah Robinson (sighting of Clouded Sulphur, November 20, Sackville, NB), James Hirtle (photograph of Painted Lady, November 18, East Side Port L’Hebert, NS), and Ken McKenna (photographs of Orange Sulphur and Painted Lady, November 13, near Canso, NS). James’ photo is the latest Atlas record during the first three years of the project. It will be interesting to contrast the late dates we are getting during the project with late dates 50 years from now!

Painted Lady photographed November 13 near Canso, NS, by Ken McKenna

Painted Lady photographed November 13, 2012, near Canso, NS, by Ken McKenna

2012 was an exceptional butterfly year. To date more than 4,500 records have been submitted, a thousand more than 2011, and there are hundreds of records yet to come in! Particularly exceptional were the number of vagrants reported. New Brunswick had its first ever record of Fiery Skipper (reported by Jeff Clements) and its first four records of Giant Swallowtail (one each reported by Andrew Macfarlane, Tim McCluskey, Marjorie Sharpe, and Jean Renton). Nova Scotia had its second ever American Snout (reported by Kathleen Spicer). The regular migrants were also present in abundance. Painted Lady, a species that was rather uncommon in the first two years of the atlas, with only nine reports in those two years combined, was present in abundance, with over 200 reports from 2012 received so far. Perhaps the most exciting discovery of a resident species submitted to date is Roy LaPointe’s inland record of Short-tailed Swallowtail from near Plaster Rock, New Brunswick. This is only the second ever inland record for the province.

If you have specimens or photographs yet to submit I’d love to have them. Submissions can certainly wait until the bustle of Christmas is over, but the earlier I get them in the new year the better. If you’re submitting photos and you haven’t yet used eButterfly please give it a try.

Thank you very much to all of you who participated in the Atlas this season! Your efforts have made it the most productive year for the project to date.

Happy Holidays,

John Klymko
Director – Maritimes Butterfly Atlas

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