The Southern Story Continues…

Long-tailed skipper photo’d by Gibson Reynolds in the Cape May Meadows, 9-14-12.

This year’s invasion of southern species continues as Ocola and long-tailed skippers have become amazingly numerous in southernmost NJ.

Ocola skipper photo’d by Will Kerling in Cape May Point, 9-15-12.

Our August/September irruption cannot be unquestionably tied to climate change. As Paul Kerlinger, former director of CMBO, used to say when looking at hawk watch totals, “One year of data cannot be a trend.” This year’s numbers are more clearly evidence of a good year for these southern species in their regular breeding ranges south of us. Good numbers there means more individuals from those species can wander our way, following the “source and sink” path they have long followed.

Nevertheless, it’s hard not to think about longer-term trends, and those trends have been making the news lately. Here’s a short and worthy piece that appeared on NBC News recently — about the changes in the populations of Massachusetts butterfly species (some northern species disappearing while many southern species are increasing) over the last twenty years.

NBC Nightly News on Massachusetts butterflies

Keep exploring, everyone!

Long-tailed skipper photo’d by Will Kerling in Cape May Point, 9-16-12.

For the scientific report that sparked the NBC coverage, go to Another Good Reason To Do What We Do

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