Butterfly Survey Results–Lots of butterflies this year.

I have been doing butterfly surveys for the past eight years–mostly informally.  I do report the results of some of them to the Iowa Butterfly Survey Network, which is associated with Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University.

I have been seeing numbers that are larger than any year I have surveyed so far.  There are record numbers of Colias species, the orange and clouded sulfurs.

Today I did a survey on our property and saw very large numbers of monarchs.  Specifically, I counted 74 monarchs in 45 minutes, but that is a very conservative number.  There were several places where the numbers flying around the small black walnut and mulberry trees were too high to count.

I am also seeing higher numbers of other butterflies this year.  I have not seen as many common buckeyes as I have seen this year–they are really thick.  Little yellows are back in Iowa after being gone (for the most part) for two years.  I also think I am seeing the start of a bloom of painted ladies–I am seeing small numbers of them and expect to see high numbers of them before the summer is out.

(monarch above, common buckeye below)

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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in butterflies, butterfly surveys, common buckeye, insects, monarch, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Butterfly Survey Results–Lots of butterflies this year.

  1. I read about your blog on NABA list..Nice that you are seeing monarchs..I haven’t seen one this year in my western NY yard..I am still working in a Monarch Way Station and am pretty new to butterflies….Michelle

    • Butterflies that migrate into an area are pretty unpredictible. A few years ago there were no painted ladies seen in the upper midwest for a whole season. The last two years we have had no little yellows in Iowa while in most years they are common.
      Good luck. Have fun.

  2. Julie Brown says:

    I have also noticed higher numbers of monarchs and swallowtails this season, as well as other species.

  3. Kay Meyer says:

    Harlan,
    Really nice blog. It’s been great to see so many buckeye butterflies at the Arboretum this year.
    Kay

  4. Stephanie Jessen says:

    I live in Tennessee & we have been seeing an unusual amount of butterflies the last two weeks. I am not familiar with the different ones but according to the pictures above I am seeing bunches of buckeyes. I had at least 75 in my yard yesterday.

    Thanks

  5. Pauline Rosenberg says:

    I’m seeing more buckeyes than ever. Also more fritillaries including variegated, meadow and great spangled. Also, seeing more black swallowtails and spicebush
    swallowtails. It’s great!

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