Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Announcing butterfly count: SW Ottawa & Burnt Lands Alvar

By Ken Allison

On Saturday, July 4, 2015, the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club will be holding the 14th annual Manion Corners Butterfly Count. Similar to Christmas Bird Counts, this event is an all-day survey of a 24-km diameter circle. Although this count is facilitated by the Ottawa club, the count area is centred on Manion Corners (southwest of Ottawa) and includes several important butterfly areas such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar.

Appalachian Brown photo 1

Appalachian Brown butterfly. Photo Ken Allison

Burnt Lands Alvar is home to Burnt Lands Alvar Provincial Park and the alvar itself, much of which is situated within Mississippi Mills, is a designated Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI). If you are intrigued by recent attention focused on the alvar and the guided walks on the alvar this spring (focused primarily on habitat and the unique and rare plant species), this event will give you a chance to see the rich butterfly fauna of the ANSI. Jeff Skevington and Peter Hall are the coordinators for the count. You might recognize Peter’s name as he is one of the authors of The Butterflies of Canada, which is the standard ‘go-to’ guide book on Canadian butterflies.

If you wish to participate in the count, meet at the parking lot at the intersection of Dwyer Hill Road and March Road at 8:30 a.m.  This is a ‘child-friendly’ event and is a great opportunity to introduce children to the interesting world of butterflies. The count goes all day until 4:30 p.m. and this is followed by a meeting, at 6 pm, for a compilation and pot luck dinner. All participants are invited to the compilation and it is always a very enjoyable event with great food and fun interactions with a group of real enthusiasts. If you can’t make it to the compilation, arrangements can be made to get your data in sometime during the afternoon before you leave.

There is a $4 charge to participants, to support the publication of the count results. No experience is necessary – the organizers will put teams together on Saturday morning and match up people so that everyone has a chance to learn from the experts. If you have binoculars and a butterfly net, please bring them along. Butterflies may be captured for identification and release. Rubber boots are recommended, as some of the sites have a lot of poison ivy, especially in the Burnt Lands.

The rain date for this event will be Sunday, July 5 at 8:30 am. Call Jeff Skevington Friday evening at 613-720-2862 if there is any doubt about the weather or for specific questions regarding this event.


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Butterfly Count at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park

Jim Ronson, a local Field Naturalist and Butterfly expert, is organizing a Butterfly Count day on Thursday, June 26, at 9:30. The count is centered on Murphy’s Point Provincial Park and extends to a radius of 24 KM. The area includes the Perth Wildlife Reserve but it does not overlap with the traditional count done at Manion Corners.

MVFN supports this event and we are asking our membership to participate in this important event, as a way to collect important butterfly species population data for our area and equally important, a way to increase the public’s knowledge of butterflies and their identification.

Susan Wilkes butterfly (1280x867)













Red Admiral butterfly photo courtesy Susan Wilkes


Kens monarch

Monarch butterfly photo Ken Allison

Jim is looking for a number of the participants familiar with butterfly identification in our region as well as people who are willing to assist others during the day with identification. Participants should bring a net and field guide. The results will be sent to the North American  Butterfly Association which is conducting their 8th year of a continent wide census.

Jim Ronson butterfly count (1280x960)









photo Jim Ronson

If cold or rain results in a delay, then all will be notified and the count will take place on June 27.

Please contact Jim Ronson at or 613-264-1937 if you are interested in participating.





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