9/16 – Spokane Meeting – 6-7:30 pm “Share the Wealth” using Zoom

Spokane’s Washington Butterfly Association chapter welcomes you and your friends to a show and tell, experience about Eastern Washington and/or other area butterfly sightings from this last spring, summer and into the September. This is where we can all share our butterfly stories, get to know each other or get reacquainted with each other, and ask questions about butterfly/pollinator related topics. It will be fun and full of knowledge!

If you have photos to share from this past year, please email them to Mary Schu at mlangford30@gmail.com before the meeting then she will share them during the meeting for you to discuss or if you are comfortable with it, you can share your screen during the meeting and show your photos that way.

Just a few things about zoom and the upcoming meeting:

1) Participants will be muted upon entering the meeting so please keep yourselves muted during the meeting unless you are talking just to keep outside noise levels down.

2) Please register in advance for this meeting you can do this by clicking the link below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEuc-6hrTojHteKJaD-w7tppghmumXvTdok

After registering you will receive an email confirmation containing information about joining the meeting.

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9/2 – Seattle Meeting – 7 pm “Species Profiles – Hairstreaks and a Skipper” using Zoom

David Nunnallee
David Nunnallee
Species Profiles

Since we haven’t been able to enjoy summer field trips, we are doing a variation of the traditional ‘Share the Wealth’ program for the September 2 meeting at 7 PM. We’ll meet by Zoom, and will view several short video presentations of species profiles (hairstreaks and a skipper) that Dave Nunallee has given at past meetings, and that Al Wagar has recorded. Dave will be on hand to answer questions.

Al Wagar Bethel Ridge 2019
Al Wagar
WBA Videographer
at Bethel Ridge 2019

We’re still figuring out how to use Zoom, but here are a few guidelines for the meeting:

  • The usual meeting announcements and business will occur after the speaker presentation. If you want to participate, just stay in the Zoom meeting when the speaker’s presentation has concluded.
  • Participants will be automatically muted when entering the meeting and for the presentation, but feel free to unmute for the informal meeting afterwards.
  • The meeting will be recorded. If participants choose to use video (instead of just audio) and choose to speak, their video image will be recorded.
  • This meeting will utilize short videos, and Dave will be available after each video to answer questions. If you have a question, please submit it using the Chat function, and the moderator will summarize the questions for Dave to answer at the pauses between the videos.
  • You may need to adjust the volume as we toggle between the prepared video and the interactive portion of the meeting. You may want to have head phones or ear buds handy. Just a heads-up.

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYufuugqzIiE9VhQcraACwFNx93OFM7SXvf

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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Crater Lake Lepidoptera Survey

The Summer / Fall 2020 issue of Crater Lake Reflections Visitor Guide has a story about Dana Ross’s survey of the butterflies and moths of Crater Lake National Park. Here is a link to the newsletter. The article is on page 7.

https://wabutterflyassoc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Crater-Lake-Reflections-Summer-Fall-2020.pdf

Dana Ross Sorting Moths
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Cancelled August 21 Field Trip to Crystal Mountain

Sadly, but with an abundance of caution, our field trip to Crystal Mountain has been cancelled due to Covid-19. Here is hoping that there will be a vaccine early next year so that everyone can get out on the trails, in the meadows, and on forest roads in 2021. Stay well. Stay safe. Wear your mask.

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County Big Days – WBA Citizen Science Project for June, July, August, and September

Butterflying in the time of Corona
Citizen Science Opportunities abound!

Here at WBA we take both our field work and our data collection seriously.  The field trips WBA leads help us monitor presence/absence and relative abundance of Washington’s butterflies.

Citizen science, based on your active participation, is key to helping WBA meet our objectives of education, outreach and conservation.  Without many formal field trips this season, the WBA board is initiating a new effort—one designed to keeping you, fellow butterfly enthusiasts, engaged with butterflies across our environment while concurrently contributing to our development of a baseline understanding of where and how common our butterflies are on the landscape.

We have come up with a variation of field day competition used by bird watchers.  One challenge birders have is a “back yard big day”.  This has an individual pick a day and then see how many difference species of birds they can detect on their property—or a site of their choosing.

We would like to take that concept and modify it for butterflies in the time of Corona—into a “County/Month Big Day”.  There are distinct differences between birds and butterflies.  Different butterflies are in their adult stage at various times between spring and fall.  No single interval can be found that will have all species in an area all present as adults.  Second, within a single yard, or even neighborhood, the absolute number of species of adult butterflies is low.

With these considerations in mind, what we are initiating is a series of county level big days.  At least one day a month, this June, July, August and September, we would like you to participate by going out, safely, to document how many different species you can detect within the county/counties of your choice. 

This citizen science opportunity is open to everyone, not just WBA members.  The basic rules are:  choose whichever part(s) of the county will give you good species abundance and richness at the time you are out, then upload your sightings to eButterfly (details to follow).

You are welcomed and encouraged to do multiple surveys in a given month.  You are welcome to do surveys with others in a manner consistent with county COVID requirements.  You are welcome to do multiple counties, multiple times, again in a manner consistent with county COVID requirements.

This will give us data from across the state, and helps us focus on many of our common butterflies—as well as the challenge to detect some of more difficult species.  One of our conservation objectives is keeping common species common.  That means we need to monitor our local butterfly populations in our local areas so that we can have some sense of baseline population levels to compare against changes in abundance in the future.  When this is done across the state and built on over time, it will result in a much improved understanding and aid in conservation and restoration efforts.

At the end of the field season, we will organize the data and publish our findings including:

  • How many total detections were recorded by WBA citizen scientists
  • What were the most commonly detected species, by county
  • How many species were detected, by month, by county
  • Which counties had zero surveys conducted (where’s the love)
  • Who detected the most species in a given county, by month? 
  • Who conducted surveys in the most counties? 
  • Who saw the most number of species in a given county? 
  • Who submitted the most surveys
    • Within each month
    • Across the entire season

Bragging rights anyone? 

To make this work, WBA is partnering with eButterfly to use their website and database as our tool/data repository.  In addition, as we move forward, all of our future field trips and study weekend excursions will be recorded in eButterfly.  An additional focus is on getting much of our historical data (e.g., field trip reports, study weekend lists) into the eButterfly database.  This is key to helping develop a baseline understanding of what has been and is now on the landscape so we have references for what we find in the future.

eButterfly has been built based on the lessons learned from eBird.  Because of this strong citizen science based structure, WBA chose the eButterfly website to use.  Their website also allows you to report any associated metadata with the observations—such as information on how many, how long you looked, the type of survey done, etc.  This makes the information much more valuable for scientists to use in analysis than simply “presence/absence” as it provides insights into level of effort and detection rates. 

Please make an account on eButterfly, see how to record your field findings and metadata and let us know what questions or technical challenges you find.  eButterfly is working to modify their web interface so that we can “sign in” as “WBA”—so all our data can be easily analyzed as a set.  They are working with us to create a special group flag, but while that programming is under construction, you need to type “WBA” in the “remarks” section (Step 2).  eButterfly can then identify the data to analyze with other “WBA” data.  We are working directly with eButterfly’s technical team and they are committed to meeting our data collection and recording needs. (Thank you Regina Rochefort!). 

There is a tutorial video on eButterfly’s website: http://www.e-butterfly.org/en/content/webinar-disruption but it is not done as well as it could be.  We will be encouraging them to develop other tutorial info on how to use the tool.  WBA will be working on our own set of basic instructions and FAQs.  If you have questions, shoot an email to Regina Rochefort at gibbons.rochefort@gmail.com or Melanie Weiss at melanierweiss@gmail.com—at this time they have the most working knowledge of the interface.  Also, if you are looking for a project constructing a good “how to use eButterfly” tutorial would be much appreciated (word doc, PowerPoint, etc.).  Both WBA and eButterfly will find it very useful.

We also strongly encourage the use of iNaturalist as an online field data repository for more casual butterfly sighting.  There is a WBA specific group/project set up there for recording your observations of butterflies and moths.  See the related write-up on using iNaturalist by Regina Johnson at reg@madronas.net for more details.  iNaturalist Instructions

Bumble bee observations can be recorded with Bumble Bee Watch, a Xerces sponsored effort.  No easy ability for us to have a WBA group set up in that application, but we will inquire.  The data can be sorted by location, species and date, so it is a pretty useful tool—but always better with more, and more current, data!

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