Daily Archives: June 25, 2014

Plant Materials Center to Host 40th Annual North American Butterfly Association Count


The 40th Annual North American Butterfly Association (NABA) Count will kick off at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Manhattan Plant Materials Center (PMC), Thursday, July 10, 2014, beginning at 9 a.m.  There is no charge to participate in the count, but volunteers need to register by Monday, July 8, by calling 785-539-8761, to assure adequate supply of materials and handouts.  Those attending should bring a sack lunch, water, bug spray, binoculars, field guides, and camera (if you have them) and dress appropriately for the weather conditions.  Attendees at the event will be on their own for transportation.  If special accommodations are needed, please let the PMC know.

The annual count is intended to promote interest in butterflies and provide results useful for scientific monitoring of this beautiful and fascinating group of insects.

“People are drawn to butterflies because of the beauty they bring to our natural world, but they are equally important to the environment as pollinators, consumers, and food sources for other animals,” said Rich Wynia, PMC Manager.

“The PMC is excited to host the NABA count again this year and it provides a way for volunteers to help scientists monitor butterfly migration and get a good estimate of the different species and their numbers.”

Volunteers should meet at the PMC and from there will get instructions on how to participate in the count.  The count area covers a 15-mile diameter circle with the PMC, Konza Prairie, and Manhattan located in the circle.  Due to the size of the survey area, PMC Staff will organize volunteers to cover as much area as possible.  More information about the butterfly count is available at www.naba.org.

Those attending the event will also learn more about the PMC and its purpose of developing plants for conservation and have the opportunity to see some of the pollinator projects at the PMC.

For more information about the PMC, go to http://plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/kspmc  or http://ks.nrcs.usda.gov


From Manhattan: From Fort Riley Blvd. or Tuttle Creek Blvd. (east side of Manhattan by Manhattan Town Center Mall) cross the Kansas River Bridge. Immediately after crossing the bridge, turn right on Riley Co. 901-McDowell Creek Road, travel 6.0 miles, turn right on Riley Co. 424. Follow Riley Co. 424, 3 miles north and 1 mile west to the PMC.

From I-70: Travelers on I-70 should exit 307-McDowell Creek Road Interchange. Eastbound travelers should turn left, westbound travelers should turn right on Riley Co. 901-McDowell Creek Road, travel 3.6 miles to west 40th Avenue, turn left and travel 3 miles north to PMC.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon by Bob Gress

Peregrine Falcon by Bob Gress

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus).        Photo Credit: Bob Gress The peregrine falcon has a distinctive black head with a “moustache” over its beak, continuing onto a blue-grey back. Its white underparts are barred. They nest as far north as the  Arctic tundra and winter in South America. Homing instincts lead them back to their nesting sites (aeries) that have often been used by uninterrupted generations of falcons. Peregrine populations became endangered because of the widespread use of DDT during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s but have responded to curtailed use of DDT and other pesticides. DDT was believed to reduce the amount of calcium in their eggshells. Thinner shells broke prematurely resulting in poor hatching success. The peregrine falcon was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species list on August 25, 1999 and from the Kansas list in 2009. In natural surroundings, the peregrine falcon nests in a scrape on cliff edges. The female scrapes a shallow depression in loose soil, sand or gravel in which to lay eggs. No nest materials are used. In cities, man-made structures like bridges and building ledges have become substitutes for the cliffs as nesting locations. The peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching more than 200 mph during high speed hunting dives known as stoops (wings tucked in close to the body). These dives take many different waterfowl and shorebirds plus pigeons, doves, flickers and meadowlarks. Their dramatic courtship flights showcase aerial acrobatics, spectacularly steep dives and precise spirals.