Monarch Migration on Virginia's Eastern Shore

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.

butterfly research

Why It's Important

Observatory volunteers help manage butterfly gardens at Kiptopeke State Park, at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, at the Williamsburg Botanical Garden, and at Jamestown Marina. 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.


Monarch Watch

Journey North

Monarch Joint Venture

CVWO Monarch biologist, Michael Ferrara tags a Monarch for the video, featured at the top of this pa

CVWO Monarch biologist, Michael Ferrara tags a Monarch for the video, featured at the top of this pa

Checklist of butterflies in coastal virginia

_ Pipevine Swallowtail*
_ Zebra Swallowtail
_ Black Swallowtail
_ Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 

_ Spicebush Swallowtail

_ Palamedes Swallowtail 

_ Giant Swallowtail*
_ Cabbage White
_ Checkered White*

_ Falcate Orangetip 

_ Clouded Sulphur 

_ Orange Sulphur
_ Cloudless Sulphur 

_ Little Yellow*

_ Sleepy Orange
_ Harvester*
_ American Copper*
_ Bronze Copper*
_ Great Purple Hairstreak* 

_ Juniper Hairstreak*
_ Brown Elfin*
_ Henry’s Elfin

_ Eastern Pine Elfin*
_ Oak Hairstreak*
_ Coral Hairstreak*
_ Banded Hairstreak*
_ King’s Hairstreak*
_ Striped Hairstreak*
_ Red-banded Hairstreak 

_ Gray Hairstreak

_ White M Hairstreak* 

_ Eastern Tailed-Blue 

_ Summer Azure
_ American Snout

_ Monarch
_ Gulf Fritillary*

_ Silvery Checkerspot*

 _ Common Buckeye
_ Question Mark
_ Eastern Comma*

_ Mourning Cloak
_ Red Admiral
_ Painted Lady
_ American Lady
_ Northern Pearly-eye* 

_ Southern Pearly-eye* 

_ Creole Pearly-eye*

_ Appalachian Brown 

_ Gemmed Satyr
_ Carolina Satyr
_ Little Wood-Satyr

_ Common Wood-Nymph 

_ Silver-spotted Skipper
_ Long-tailed Skipper*
_ Hoary Edge*

_ Northern Cloudywing* 

_ Southern Cloudywing* 

_ Confused Cloudywing* 

_ Hayhurst’s Scallopwing* 

_ Juvenal’s Duskywing

_ Horace’s Duskywing

_ Zarucco Duskywing*

_ Wild Indigo Duskywing

_ Common Checkered-Skipper

_ Common Sootywing 

_ Swarthy Skipper

_ Viceroy 

_ Hackberry Emperor 

_ Tawny Emperor 

_ Phaon Crescent* 

_ Pearl Crescent

_ Clouded Skipper 

_ Least Skipper
_ Fiery Skipper
_ Sachem

_ Peck’s Skipper*

_ Tawny-edged Skipper*

_ Crossline Skipper

_ Northern Broken-Dash

_ Southern Broken-Dash

_ Little Glassywing

_ Delaware Skipper*

_ Rare Skipper*

_ Zabulon Skipper

_ Broad-winged Skipper

_ Aaron’s Skipper*

_ Yehl Skipper*

_ Dion Skipper*

_ Dukes’ Skipper*

_ Dun Skipper

_ Dusted Skipper*

_ Pepper and Salt Skipper*

_ Reversed Roadside-Skipper*

_ Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper*

_ Common Roadside-Skipper*

_ Brazilian Skipper* 

_ Saltmarsh Skipper 

_ Ocola Skipper

_ Viceroy 

_ Hackberry Emperor 

_ Tawny Emperor

 _ Phaon Crescent* 

_ Pearl Crescent

How to create a butterfly garden

What To Plant

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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