Birds and butterflies make good companions for a birder. When birding is slow, paying attention to the scaled jewels flitting around us is a satisfying activity. Who isn’t charmed by the striking orange and black colors of a Monarch or Viceroy or fritillary, the vivid yellow of sulphur butterflies, or the black and white colors of a White Admiral?
Most binoculars these days have close-focus capability. With such binoculars, identifying most of the 122 species of butterflies and skippers in the state is pretty straightforward. With practice, many species can be identified by the naked eye.
Beginning in 2003, three colleagues and I launched the Maine Butterfly Survey (MBS), an ambitious project to map the distribution of Maine butterflies at the township level. Because Maine has 911 townships, mapping distributions at the township level was no small task.
The MBS relied on volunteers for this project. We conducted one-day workshops to get the citizen-scientists on this project up to speed on identification and collection of specimens. The project was a voucher-based project, meaning that all records had to be supported by either a specimen or a photograph. The specimens now reside in the Maine State Museum.
The field work by volunteers began in 2005 and continued through 2017. Over 400 Maine citizen-scientists volunteered for this collaborative effort. A few notable records were accepted after the official end of the field season in 2017.
As we were winding down the project, the Maritime Butterfly Atlas (MBA) project was gearing up in the Maritime Provinces. The MBS and MBA coordinators began conversations about merging our efforts into a single book to cover the region biogeographers call Acadia. We decided to collaborate. The result is the recently published Butterflies of Maine and Canadian Maritime Provinces, published by Cornell University Press.
If you would like to obtain a copy, I recommend purchasing directly from the Cornell University Press website because they are providing a 30% discount on the $34.95 purchase price.
Go here to start; https://cup.secure.longleafservices.org/cart?fcsid=16hi7ccg7hfoprh7l7k0s5n9nn Then click on the Proceed to Checkout button. There you will see a Discount box where you should type 09BCARD to get your discount.