Michael Ferrara, CVWO's Monarch biologist, illustrates tagging a Monarch for Reagan Studios film crew. See the video below.
In this video you will hear from Michael Ferrara, CVWO's monarch biologist, who will share insights into the unique geographic feature of the peninsula of the Eastern Shore of Virginia and how this super highway for monarch and raptor migration provides tremendous opportunities for CVWO, scientists and the public to encounter the butterfly and hawk migration in the fall.
Observatory volunteers help manage butterfly gardens at Kiptopeke State Park, at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, and at the Williamsburg Botanical Garden. The observatory participates in the annual July Delmarva Tip Butterfly Count that is sponsored by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA). In 1998 it established a Monarch Butterfly Migration Program that conducts fall surveys and tags Monarchs. Monarch numbers are declining at an alarming rate, due to a variety of factors. Several tagged Monarchs have later been found at their winter roost sites near Mexico City.
The Observatory has documented more than 70 species of butterflies and skippers at the tip of Virginia's Eastern Shore, where little butterfly work has been previously conducted. Pictured above are two rarities, Gulf Fritillary at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge garden and Juniper Hairstreak at the Kiptopeke State Park butterfly garden.
Other surprising finds have included White M Hairstreak, Great Purple Hairstreak and first Northampton County records for Zebra Swallowtail, Hayhurst's Scallopwing, Brazilian Skipper, Sleepy Orange, Crossline Skipper, Little Glassywing and Common Roadside Skipper. The Observatory's 15 mile diameter circle count area, for the Delmarva Tip July count, has recorded national high counts for the year for Spicebush Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Silver-spotted Skipper and Saltmarsh Skipper, despite the fact that a huge percentage of the circle is water!
Butterflies and Skippers Documented by CVWO in Northampton County on Virginia's Eastern Shore
Pipevine Swallowtail (rare)
Zebra Swallowtail (rare)
Giant Swallowtail (rare)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Southern Dogface (rare)
Little Yellow (rare)
Great Purple Hairstreak (rare)
Eastern Pine Elfin
White M Hairstreak (rare)
Eastern Tailed Blue
"Summer" Azure (subspecies of Spring)
Great Spangled Fritillary (rare)
Gulf Fritillary (rare)
Eastern Comma (rare)
Little Wood Satyr
Long-tailed Skipper (rare)
Northern Cloudywing (rare)
Hayhurst's Scallopwing (rare)
Wild Indigo Duskywing
Common Checkered Skipper
Delaware Skipper (rare)
Aaron's Skipper (rare)
Common Roadside Skipper (rare)
Brazilian Skipper (rare)
For more than 20 years, the Observatory has created and managed butterfly gardens for research, conservation and the enjoyment of visitors. If you would like to create your own butterfly garden, even a small one is helpful to many species. It just takes a sunny spot. Though garden centers have many good varieties, from our experience, here are some top butterfly garden plants that thrive in southeastern Virginia and are not particularly attractive to hungry deer:
Joe-Pye Weed ( Eutrochium dubium )
Bergamot ( many varieties of monarda )
Boneset ( Eupatorium perfoliatum )
Cup Plant ( Silphium perfoliatum )
Mist Flower ( Conoclinium coelestinum )
Mountain Mint ( Pycnanthemum muticum )
New York Aster ( Symphyotrichum novi-belgii )
Coreopsis (many varieties of coreopsis )
Goldenrod ( many varities of Solidago )
Butterfly Weed (many varieties of asclepias)
Lantana, not native, ( Lantana camara 'Miss Huff' )
Butterfly Bush, not native ( many varieties of Buddleia )
Abelia, not native ( Abelia grandiflora )
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