‘What’s a butterfly count without butterflies? Someone who is tromping across the wilds for the first time may never have this question in mind. They could meet up more than thousands in their hunt. But for John Weber and Marlene, this sounds the right concern as they meet a non-gold, non-silver year of butterfly count.
For the couple, year 2015 was the 23rd year of their successive butterfly count, in which they have encountered over 1 50,000 living butterflies. But standing close to the silver-period with their butterfly hunt, they find no silver shining in the counts. For them, it was a year of decline.
The total number of butterflies they have encountered in their stroll across the outside areas of Minnesota was close to 10,000. That might sound astounding for someone novice, but it will soon turn disappointing when you hear about the count during previous years.
Their count in year 2014 registered over 12,000 butterflies, and a dip of 24% was what they encountered in their count this year. Although with the timely rains during 2014 favoring the butterfly population, they believe that there’s more to worry than just pointing it out to the weather variation.
The species count has dropped from 67 in the previous year to 63. There has been a drastic dip in the individual counts, with the most noticeable dips being with Northern Crescent, Silvery Checkerspot, European Skipper, Long Dash Skipper and Eyed Brown. But there have been upsides with some individuals, and the most noted was with Clouded Sulphur, showing a rise of over 1000 in numbers.
The Monarch has had a jump in count by 258, which is great considering the count was only 58 in 2013. And with more US organizations coming forward for saving the species population, we can expect a solid rise when Weber and Marlene walk their way with for the next count.
Hopefully, let it be like in 2001, which is regarded the golden year of butterfly count by the couple, having encountered more than 15,000 butterflies in a single trip of butterfly count.