Niobrara Valley Preserve 2022 Butterfly Count

On July 6 seven intrepid observers set out on the Niobrara Valley Preserve’s 34th annual butterfly count. Conditions were incredibly dry (perhaps accounting for the lower overall numbers observed) but we were able to record 28 species and 161 individual butterflies. These totals fell roughly in line with averages for the last 10 years (26.8Continue reading “Niobrara Valley Preserve 2022 Butterfly Count”

Western Nebraska: Good for family & butterflies

By Jonathan Nikkila Putting to use all the tips, tricks and ID help Neil Dankert has given me over the years, I spent a day during our family vacation to the Pine Ridge last week to hunt for Western Nebraska butterfly species. My family was staying at Ft. Robinson State Park, a great place forContinue reading “Western Nebraska: Good for family & butterflies”

Distribution Map Updates – Part 1

I just finished updating the distribution maps for all 215 butterfly species that have been recorded from Nebraska. Six butterflies have been recorded from all 93 counties – Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta), Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui), Monarchs (Danaus plexippus), Common Wood Nymphs (Cercyonis pegala), Orange Sulphurs (Colias eurytheme) and Cabbage Whites (Pieris rapae). Another 14Continue reading “Distribution Map Updates – Part 1”

2021 Niobrara Valley Preserve Butterfly Count

On July 1 eight intrepid observers took advantage of perfect weather to participate in the Niobrara Valley Preserve’s annual butterfly count. They found 254 total butterflies belonging to 36 species. The Great Spangled Fritillary was the most common butterfly with 65 tallied. Four Nebraska Natural Heritage Program Tier 1 (globally most at risk of extinction)Continue reading “2021 Niobrara Valley Preserve Butterfly Count”

William Lewis Carpenter – Nebraska’s First Lepidopterist

While perhaps not the first lepidopterist, the earliest known listing of butterflies in Nebraska comes from W. L. Carpenter way back in 1880. Mr. Carpenter was born in Dunkirk New York in 1844 and served first in the US Navy and later the Army during the Civil War. After the war the Army reassigned himContinue reading “William Lewis Carpenter – Nebraska’s First Lepidopterist”

New record for Saline County: Peck’s Skipper – Polites peckius

Saturday (May 22) Jen and I went to Lincoln to buy more plants (Statewide Arboretum and Midwest Natives). Although the weather was not ideal (mostly cloudy with a stiff wind out of the south) for butterfly hunting we decided to do a little exploring and take a road less traveled (not Interstate 80) home. DrivingContinue reading “New record for Saline County: Peck’s Skipper – Polites peckius”

Hunt for Henry’s Elfin Larval Hostplants

What a strange spring (but what does a “normal” spring look like). Once in a while a nice “butterfly day” followed by another week of cold weather. I guess it’s been several weeks ago Jen and I made our annual spring pilgrimage to Harlan County Reservoir to kick off butterfly season. We were met thereContinue reading “Hunt for Henry’s Elfin Larval Hostplants”

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 theContinue reading “2020 Niobrara Valley Preserve Butterfly Count Results”

Harlan County Spring Trip

Ever since finding the first and only specimen of the Cobweb Skipper (Hesperia metea) in Nebraska at this site on May 2 1989 I’ve frequently revisited this location trying to recapture lightning in a bottle (or a skipper in a net) but to no avail. But over the years I’ve found quite an interesting mixContinue reading “Harlan County Spring Trip”