Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters


Counting butterflies for science … and for fun!

>>Counting butterflies for science … and for fun!

Counting butterflies for science … and for fun!

Photo by Simon Henson

In late March, the Conservancy held a well-attended training session about how to identify and count butterflies, including photographing butterflies to aid identification. This year, 22 people are counting in nature reserves, parks and home gardens–double the number of citizen scientists involved in the count last year. We started in April, a month earlier than last year, hoping to see more of the earliest flyers, such as the Mourning Cloak.


Photo by Linda Gilkeson

The counts take place monthly through September, so it’s too early to know how this year’s counts compare to last year. So far, however, we’ve had a very interesting sighting of the rare Dun Skipper, which was seen and photographed in June at the Blackburn Lake Nature Reserve by Simon Henson. Sedges are host plants for this species, and it looks like the extensive plantings of sedges as part of the wetlands restoration may be paying off for these rare butterflies. Quite a few people spotted the Grey Hairstreak again this year, confirming that this is a widely distributed species on Salt Spring.