Weather bad for crops, great for butterflies
The hot, dry weather has been troubling for Island farmers but the conditions are perfect for butterflies, now flocking to P.E.I. in large numbers.
It's a pleasant surprise for Tracy Brown, executive director of the Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association. Brown and her group of volunteers monitor the butterfly population on the Island.
"This year is a boom, and a record number of butterflies of a native species, right across Canada," she said.
Many of the winged insects are migrating from the Eastern U.S., a region that has experienced a mild winter, and hot summer — perfect conditions for butterfly breeding.
"The habitat is doing really well, the drier conditions have meant high numbers of certain wildflowers," Brown said, "A lot of the grain in some of the fields have not come up as high, so you're going to get massive fields and those people will see those big purple flower fields."
Brown says some species, like the American painted lady and sulphurs, are showing up in record numbers.
But it's not all good news, monarch butterfly numbers are still low. Just as weather can shift, so too can butterfly populations.
"That's not to say that this increase is going to continue for future generations of the butterflies," Brown said.
For now, Brown says the increased number of butterflies will be positive on the local ecosystem, as it means more food for swallows.