Each year there is a nation-wide survey of butterflies scheduled near July 4th. This year the Mercer County count was held on July 8th . The Marsh count began at 8:30 AM to beat the heat. There were seven participants. The route included the path around Spring Lake, as well as South River Walk Park (over tunnel) and Lamberton Road. Among the species near Spring Lake were Silver-spotted Skipper, Monarch, Spicebush Swallowtail, Tiger Swallowtail, Summer Azure, and Red Admiral. Painted Lady and Sachems (Skipper) were found among the coneflowers at River Walk Park, and Lamberton Road added more than 100 Cabbage Whites and two recently-emerged Pearl Crescents. Overall a dozen species were observed. The morning highlight, however, was avian – two Least Bitterns were observed from the Sunny Pond Bridge flying low over the north marsh, presumably feeding young.
For additional survey information see the North American Butterfly Association website: www.naba.org.
10 July 2012
Photographs courtesy Jeff Worthington.