Monarchs at Wildwood; Rare Butterfly at Wiregrass Lake
Volunteer butterfly monitor Rachel Shamy discovered something unexpected recently while surveying Wiregrass Lake Metropark: a rare, Common Ringlet butterfly (Coenonympha tullia), nectaring on rough blazingstar. The find is very significant in that it is the first record for Lucas County and only the second or third for the state of Ohio.
Normally, these butterflies are found in the northern Oak Openings Region in Michigan and other wet prairie/bog environments near Ann Arbor. They use grasses and rushes for host plants, and these plants are abundant at Wiregrass Lake in the higher quality wet prairie areas that have been managed and restored.
Volunteer butterfly monitors logged a high count of 25 monarch butterflies along their monitoring transect at Wildwood Preserve August 30. They found many of these animals in meadows with abundant nectar sources, fueling up for their long-distance migration to Mexico.
Monarch numbers have decreased significantly over the last 20 years, due to factors such as habitat loss and fragmentation.