Yesterday we headed out to Markham Prairie to the south of Chicago to check it out for a potential butterfly restoration site.
Vincent, our Director of Arthropod Conservation, and his team have been working really hard all summer raising literally thousands of imperilled butterflies for release onto suitable habitats in an attempt to restore populations to appropriate sites.
When they do releases they take between one and two hundred butterflies to an area that has the required host plants to feed future caterpillars and also good nectar sources to sustain future generations of butterflies.
The butterflies we want to restore to this site are Silver-bordered Fritillaries Boloria selene So named because they have little silver coloured spots on the underside of the hindwing.
Markham Prairie is an ideal spot for them. It is one of the very few remnants of original prairie remaining in Illinois and it has a massive variety of native prairie plant species including members of the violet family which is the host plant for the Silver-bordered Fritillary.
One of the rarest plants in this area is the Ear-leaved False Foxglove Tomanthera auriculata. We had missed them flowering so they were very innocuous. But it was good to see such a rare plant thriving.
There were also a healthy array of invertebrates
And even an occasional vertebrate too
The area covers about one hundred and fourty acres
We were all very happy to think that future generations of this charming little butterfly is going to be given the opportunity to repopulate this wonderful natural area.
Oh and I almost forgot to mention, we actually managed to have a day out in the field without any rain - for the first time this year!!
Photo Credits - CJT
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