When I can I take a walk over my lunch break at work. And in the summer I count the butterflies I see. Here are my results for 2014.
This chart represents the number of butterfly observations per hour. I threw out observations on some days–for example, if it was misty or windy or too cold, I disqualified the data.
I tallied a total of 888 butterflies over the season from that survey route.
This is the species composition. Three fourths of the observations I made were of three species: orange sulfur, eastern tailed-blue, and clouded sulfur.
The survey area is chosen because it is where I like to take my walks. It is not particularly good butterfly habitat. The habitat consists of some trees and turf grass. The only flowers are “accidental” flowers–flowers that are still in the grass in spite of efforts to eliminate them. Flowers include dandelions, some clovers, and even fog fruit on a particular stretch of the walk.
I also did some surveys on my home property–I entered those results into ebutterfly, but I did not track them on my spreadsheets.
Butterfly survey results are better than casual observations because there is a tracking of the effort involved.
My surveys found 25 species in this fairly poor butterfly habitat at Camp Dodge. Throughout the summer I was able to photograph 51 species in Iowa (and I am not counting the unconfirmed photograph of what I think is a phaon crescent).
2014 was not such a bad year for butterflies.