Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory

The Observatory's seasonal biologists and volunteers have conducted year-round butterfly surveys in coastal Virginia for 20+ years, concentrating on the Eastern Shore and the Williamsburg area. They established the Delmarva Tip NABA count, and they partnered with the Historic Rivers Chapter of VA Master Naturalists to establish another NABA count for the Williamsburg area. These counts have produced national highs for several butterfly species including Spicebush Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Common Buckeye, Tawny Emperor, Gemmed Satyr, Silver-spotted Skipper, Common Sootywing, and Saltmarsh Skipper. Additionally, Observatory researchers and citizen scientists have counted and tagged Monarchs in late summer and fall since 1997. Overall, they've documented around 100 species, including discovering a population of locally rare Giant Swallowtails on the Eastern Shore. Near Jamestown, Observatory scientists are conducting a study of Creole Pearly-eyes in an area hosting all three species of pearly-eyes. It's somewhat unusual to find all three species in one area, and this appears to be the northernmost east coast population for Creoles, a rare species in Virginia. The Observatory also manages several public butterfly gardens.


Coordinator: Taber, Brian
Program Date(s): 1998
Institution Type: Nature Center
Species Focus: All butterfly species
Contact Person: Brian Taber
Contact E-mail:


Protocol Type: Tagging, Count
Data Type(s): Abundance
Survey Focus: Adults