My son Asa is a freshman at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. As a Biology major he will need to complete a senior project. With the blessing of his biology adviser he has chosen (with minimal prodding from his father!) to study the population dynamics of the butterflies at Butterfly Ridge, meaning he will monitor if and how the populations of butterflies on The Ridge change as we make changes to the site over the next four years.
The project started this past weekend with our first walk of the transect. We have two transects laid out. One makes about a one hundred yard loop on the north end of The Ridge, in habitat that is about 90% open field at the moment. The other transect is a pair of loops with a connecting trail in between, sort of like a pair of eyeglasses and is located on the south end of The Ridge. This transect is currently about 90% wooded.
On our first walk we had three Eastern Commas on the north transect, and one Eastern Comma and a Mourning Cloak on the south transect. The Commas were tricky to identify since Question Marks look so similar and that Commas are so difficult to sneak up on. Fortunately the new digital comma has significantly better zoom, so the picture below was taken from about thirty feet away.
Our plan is to walk these transects the first weekend of each month. I am hoping to post the results of the transects in the Research section of the Butterfly Ridge website.
I was given a great idea about the blog over the weekend as well. In my current position as the Butterfly Specialist as the Franklin Park Conservatory, I get many of the same butterfly questions over and over. Future blogs will answer those most common questions. If you have a butterfly question that you've always been afraid to ask send me an email and I will make sure you get an answer! Email me: