Sunday, June 20, 2010

Butterfly Count Results

Yesterday was the Monroe-Carbon Butterfly Count. The 15-mile diameter count circle stretches from Kunkletown, Monroe County to Bowmanstown, Carbon County. Yesterday, three groups of butterfly watchers went out to identify and count as many species as possible. Between the three groups, we found 348 individual butterflies of 30 species and logged 18.5 group hours (all of our hours added together) of butterfly watching.

Here in Kunkletown, I spent 12 hours looking for butterflies. I decided to spend the entire day butterflying around my property.

I started at 7:00am and within a few minutes, found the first butterfly of the day, a fairly large brown one called a Common Wood-Nymph. Throughout the day, I walked through the field and the woods, counting every species that I could find.

The biggest surprise came when I checked a blooming Wild Hydrangea. From a distance, I saw a small, dark butterfly nectaring on the flowers. When I got closer, I realized that it was a hairstreak. I assumed that this was a Banded Hairstreak, a fairly common butterfly of woodlands during the summer. However, when I put up my binoculars to get a better view, I realized that I was looking at a Striped Hairstreak. Striped Haristreaks are much less common than Bandeds, so this was a great treat.

Striped Hairstreak
Striped Hairstreak on Wild Hydrangea

Although a few butterflies, like the hairstreak, a Summer Azure, and some Northern Pearly-eyes were in the woods, the majority of the butterflies that I found were in the field. Blooming Common Milkweed and Canada Thistle attracted many butterflies including Great Spangled Fritillaries, very large numbers of Little Glassywings, and even a Common Buckeye.

My final species of the day was a Crossline Skipper. On my final check of a large Common Milkweed patch, I found one of these with several Little Glassywings. Before I headed inside, I checked some Purple Coneflowers and found another Crossline.

Crossline Skipper on Common Milkweed

I finished at 7:00pm with 22 species.

Here are the totals from the entire count:

1 Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
3 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
22 Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
89 Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
16 Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
7 Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
1 Striped Hairstreak (Satyrium liparops)
1 Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
5 Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)
10 Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta)
34 Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
1 Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
6 Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti)
8 Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
1 Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)
2 Northern Pearly Eye (Enodia anthedon)
7 Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela)
5 Common Wood Nymph (Cercyonis pegala)
7 Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
1 Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades)
15 Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor)
51 European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)
1 Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles)
2 Crossline Skipper (Polites origenes)
4 Northern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia egeremet)
42 Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna)
2 Delaware Skipper (Anatrytone logan)
2 Hobomok Skipper (Poanes hobomok)
1 Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris)
1 Common Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis)

Thank you to Arlene Koch and Dan Kunkle for being the counters in the other areas!

No comments: