Meadow/Butterflies

Over the past several years the Friends of Greenview have been restoring the meadow at the nature area. Since 1990 more than 700 wildflower seedlings and prairie grasses have been planted by volunteers. Annual controlled burns and other methods are being used to eradicate invasive species.

Thanks to those efforts, the meadow is now a vibrant habitat featuring many native wildflowers such as Black Eye Susan, Primrose, Asters, Coneflower and Ironweed, and attracts a wide range birds and insects, including many species of butterflies.

See Pollinator Garden page for more information about plants at the nature area.

As part of restoration efforts the meadows have been planted with four native tallgrass prairie species: Big Bluestem, Indiangrass, Little Bluestem and switchgrass. 

Grasses are the backbone of a prairie and are a refuge for butterflies, grasshoppers, birds, reptiles, and many others that call it home.

Butterflies

Monarch butterfly iron weed
Monarch Butterfly

More than 50 species of butterflies that visit Greenview. Commonly found butterfly species at Greenview are listed below. Please watch for these and other butterflies as you walk through the meadows and the Pollinator Garden.

Cabbage WhiteTawny-edged Skipper
Clouded SulphurNorthern Broken Dash
Common Wood NymphEastern Tailed-Blue
Peck’s SkipperEuropean Skipper
Little Wood SatyrOrange Sulphur
Pearl Crescent Delaware Skipper
MonarchWild Indigo Duskywing
Common RingletBaltimore
Least SkipperGreat Spangled Frit.
Checkered Skipper
Skipper butterfly iron weed

Butterfly Study

Over the past 20 years, Professor John Swales and other members of the North American Butterfly Association have used the meadow areas at Greenview for their annual butterfly counts. There are approximately 55 species of butterflies observed at Greenview.

The annual studies report that butterfly populations observed from year to year at Greenview are fairly stable. However, continued meadow management is important in order to stop the encroachment of woody invasives. The 2021 Season Report can be viewed below.

Greenview Butterfly Report – 2021 Season

Professor John M. Swales accompanied by other volunteers made twenty-tree visits to Greenview in 2021, starting on April 27 and finishing on October 19.

Professor Swales prepared the following report:

Thirty-two different species were found, this being a bit below average and largely brought about by the absence of immigrant species (excepting the Monarch), as elsewhere in southern Michigan. The total number of individuals was just under 1700, which is a little above average. Notable changes were declines in the number of Tawny-edged and European Skippers, but offset by increases in Northern Broken Dash and Delaware Skippers.  No Mourning Cloaks or Eastern Commas were recorded, principally because the woods before leaf-out were not searched for these over-wintering species. On the other hand, two unexpected species, Bronze Copper and Zabulon Skipper, managed to re-appear in small numbers.

On the whole, therefore, the butterfly populations appear to be largely stable. This is largely due to the efforts made to maintain the flowering meadows via prescribed burns and the removal of invasives.

The details follow:

Speciestotaldatesmaximum
Cabbage White3574/27 – 10/1939 on 9/12
Clouded Sulphur2905/2 – 10/1073 on 9/2
Common Wood Nymph1987/1 – 9/2 34 on 7/24
Peck’s Skipper1455/25 – 9/235 on 8/15
Little Wood Satyr1435/26 – 7/1735 on 8/14
Pearl Crescent 925/20 to 9/1622 on 8/26
Monarch775/26 – 10/1025 on 7/17
Common Ringlet415/26 to 8/2416 on 6/16
Least Skipper416/6 – 9/311 on 6/24
Checkered Skipper395/16 – 10/105 on 8/24
Tawny-edged Skipper345/26 to 8/2415 on 8/14
Northern Broken Dash326/20 – 7/1719 on 7/1
Eastern Tailed-Blue306/24 – 10/197 on 7/17
European Skipper296/6 – 7/19 on 6/13
Orange Sulphur277/1 – 10/1915 on 10/10
Delaware Skipper247/1 to 7/2419 on 7/1
Wild Indigo Duskywing195/26 to 8/2613 on 7/7
Baltimore186/6 – 7/16 on 6/24
Great Spangled Frit.117/1 to 8/144 on 7/1
Tiger Swallowtail85/2 to 8/83 on 6/6
Silver-spotted Skipper75/20 to 9/263 on 5/20
Summer Azure66/6 – 7/24 2 on 6/6
Little Glassywing56/20 – 7/17singles
American Lady45/2 – 6/12 on 5/2
Black Swallowtail36/10 – 6/24singles
Zabulon Skipper35/26 – 8/82 on 8/8
Hobomok Skipper35/26
Banded Hairstreak27/1
Bronze Copper26/6
Red Admiral18/14
Northern pearly Eye17/24
Eastern Dun Skipper18/14
Butterfly count statistics from 2021 season