The annual MacGregor Point Butterfly count was held July 8, 2023. Party groups were established consisting of veteran butterfly counters, experienced amateurs, and Park Staff. We were also joined by several newcomers to butterfly identification who were interested in participating and learning more. They soon found there were more butterflies than Monarchs and Cabbage Whites.
The general consensus was that overall butterfly numbers were down this year. This could have been count day weather related though. The count started about 10:00 AM with lots of activity for the first hour. Overcast skies took over about 11:00 and activity took a noticeable downturn. It seemed the butterflies sensed the approaching rain and took shelter. Monarchs are of special interest to many and this year’s numbers were down compared to past years. One party had 15 individuals, but most groups were lucky to have a single sighting during the day despite many patches of milkweed that were in healthy abundance.
By 1:00PM intermittent light rain had started. The count normally runs until 4:00 but everyone had given up by 3:00 returning to the Visitor Centre to share stories of the day over a light lunch supplied by the Friends of MacGregor Point Park. Park staff offered to do the final tally rather than the traditional sit around the picnic table windup with each group calling out their results and comparing sightings and numbers.
Park staff will be issuing a summary of the final tally to all participants and submitting the data to the North American Butterfly Association for compiling with other counts across Canada and the United States. Despite the weather, spirits were high and everyone had a good time.
The count ended with a total of 27 species and 501 individual butterflies.
Article submitted by Doug Martin