Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer Butterfly Survey on Roan Mountain

It took six of us, an hour and thirty minutes, and two locations to count thirteen species of butterflies. Seems like a lot of work for so little reward but like any survey as you get better at it you get more results. I probably don’t pay too much attention to butterflies here in town. I bet most folks don’t either. They may have butterfly bush and lots of flowers but the butterflies are anonymous.

Once you begin to pay attention then your attention increases.

I had: Azure, Pipevine swallowtail, Cloudless sulfur, Cabbage white, Silver spotted skipper, Sachem skipper, Tiger swallowtail, Great spangled fritillary, Monarch, Pearl crescent, Wood nymph, Eastern tailed-blue, and Least skipper. The final count had three more species that I didn’t get.

We also count individuals so it’s easy to have a couple of hundred Pipevine (on the right day). We counted in the rain, unfortunately. Roan Mountain has been blessed or plagued (depending on your point of view) with lots of rain this year. The lower counties have been equally cursed or aided! We had just turned around at our halfway point in Hampton Creek Cove when the rain finally come on for real.

Butterflies like butterfly counters tend to seek cover in downpours!