Double-Digit December?

Buckeyes at the Cape Island Creek Preserve, photo by Sam Galick, 12-4-11

Butterflies are flying later this year than they have in any of our previous three years of logging.

Observers have found nine species in the first week of the year’s twelfth month. In order of the number of reports (as of December 7), they are:

monarch: 14 reports (of adults)
common buckeye: 13 reports
orange sulphur: 11 reports
sachem: 9 reports
fiery skipper: 8 reports
cabbage white: 4 reports
American lady: 2 reports
red admiral: 2 reports
mourning cloak: 1 report

The most numerous butterfly, by far, is the orange sulphur, with more than 100 individuals totaled (as of December 7).

Tagged monarch (PLA 852) at a Cape May Point garden, photo by Sam Galick, 12-2-11

Cape May County’s enviable combination of gung-ho observers and continuing warm temperatures seem to be the key. Of our 67 reports so far, only two (Dave Amadio’s find of an orange sulphur on Riverwinds Trail in Gloucester Co on Dec 2, and Chip Krilowicz’s cabbage white on Cherry Hill Brace Rd in Camden Co on Dec 5) come from north of Cape May County. In fact, all 65 other reports seem to come from the southernmost ten or twelve miles (or so) of the peninsula.

Can you guys & gals down there in the NJ tropics find our log one more species?

We are rooting for you and will toast you with a Pina Colada if you succeed!

One of the four orange sulphurs near Rt 9 in Avalon, photo by Will Kerling, 12-6-11. Could these be the last butterflies of 2011? Stay tuned!

This entry was posted in Late Dates, Looking At Our Data. Bookmark the permalink.