Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

More about butterflies, damselflies, dragonflies and moths

2021 07 20 virgin tiger moth gary yThe Carden Alvar Butterfly and Dragonfly counts were held this past weekend, July 17 and 18, celebrating the 24th official year of this event.

We have Ontario Master Naturalist Bob Bowles to thank for his continued dedication and commitment to this program, from organizing teams to helping beginners identify these beautiful creatures.

Bob started the counts in 1998 and has organized them every year since the first count, even over the past two summers under COVID-19 restrictions.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada will be completing the official tally from each team and submitting the data to the North American Butterfly Counts for Eastern Canada.

The counts provide important information about the health of these beautiful insects and the condition of our environment. Dragonflies and butterflies are a key part of the food chain as predators and prey and are essential pollinators.

Teams of two to four people were assigned a section of the Carden Alvar circle, and were given data entry sheets and ID guides for the varying species.

The guides list the butterflies and dragonflies found on the Alvar, making it a little easier for beginners. Each team had an experienced “team captain” to ensure proper identification was made.

The Robert L. Bowles Nature Centre offered on site overnight camping for participants of the count.

A moth observation night was held on Friday evening. Gary Yankech, an enthusiastic naturalist and photographer set up the lights and equipment and identified more than 90 different species of moths. He even had a live trap so we were able to look at and photograph moths the following morning before releasing them back into the wild.

These activities are great for all ages, from children wanting to see and learn about butterflies, dragonflies and moths to naturalists who have a passion for sustaining our environment. From novices in the field to biodiversity scientists, all are welcome. It is a wonderful opportunity to make a genuine contribution.

We will be posting beautiful photographs and videos of these captivating insects on our website later this week.

We are having a donation-based workshop on Saturday, July 24 at 3pm. about the Monarch butterfly. We will be learning about the various stages, from the larva stage to the pupa stage and finally the imago stage (the butterfly). If the timing is right, we will be tagging and releasing one or two butterflies. All so fascinating! Please join us for this informative and exciting event.

Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register.
The workshop will be limited to 15 participants.

Top photo: Virgin tiger moth (Grammia virgo) Photo credit - Gary Yankech


European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola) - Photo Credit - Gary Yankech

European Skipper Thymelicus lineola








Striped Hairstreak (Satyrium liparops) - Photo Credit - Gary Yankech

Striped Hairstreak Satyrium liparops Photo Credit Gary Yankech








Slaty Skimmer female (Libellula incesta) - Photo Credit - Gary Yankech

Slaty Skimmer female Libellula incesta Photo Credit Gary Yankech








Slaty Skimmer Male (Libellula incesta) - Photo Credit - Gary Yankech

Slaty Skimmer Male Libellula incesta Photo Credit Gary Yankech








Team observing and identifying Butterflies and Dragonflies - Photo Credit - Michael Elmer

Team observing and identifying Butterflies and Dragonflies. Photo Credit Michael Elmer










Moth observations set-up after dark. - Photo Credit - Michael Elmer

Moth observations set up after dark. Photo credit Michael Elmer










Once married underwing moth (Catocala unijuga) - Photo Credit - Gary Yankech

Once married underwing moth Catocala unijuga Photo Credit Gary Yankech








Blog courtesy of June Crinnion

Robert L. Bowles Nature Centre, founded by June Crinnion and Michael Elmer, is a nature and wellness centre in Ramara, named after Lake Simcoe Living Nature Detective Bob Bowles to honour his role in protecting and caring for the environment. For more information, go to



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