2020 Niobrara Valley Preserve Butterfly Count Results

Due to the Corona virus and other scheduling issues this year’s annual Niobrara Valley Preserve butterfly count was a two day affair by two different teams. On July 11 Jonathan Nikkila and his son Bennett covered a majority of the count. Jen and I followed that up on July 15 covering the remainder of the census. As in past counts this year’s featured a wide variety of skippers. A total of 32 species and 234 butterflies were tallied – with the number of individuals likely under reported. At some point we just stopped counting wood nymphs and alfalfa butterflies and put in conservative estimates instead. Diversity is what I like to focus on and the 32 species surpasses most of our more recent counts and hearkens back to the counts in the 1980s and 90s. Four species on the NENHP Tier 1 status were found (Monarch, Ottoe Skipper, Eyed Brown and Regal Fritillary) along with seven Tier 2s (Dun, Long Dash, Crossline, Little Glassywing, and Northern Broken Dash skippers, as well as Northern Pearly Eye and Banded Hairstreak butterflies). See the June 14 post for an explanation of the Nebraska Natural Heritage Program (NENHP).

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