Save the Date! July 17th for Butterfly Count, National Arboretum

Mark your calendar for July 17 to participate in the official DC 4th of July Butterfly Count (rain date July 18).  Read organizer Tom Stock’s invitation below:

>>For several years, Pat Durkin has led the District of Columbia 4th of July Butterfly Count at the National Arboretum. This year, I will be taking over for Pat – and I would like to invite one and all to participate. The details:

WHEN: Saturday, July 17, 2010 – beginning at 9:00 a.m. and lasting until mid to late afternoon (the Arboretum closes at 5 p.m.), depending on heat. (The count’s rain date is Sunday, July 18 – if in doubt, contact me.)

The count will end at 4 p.m. at the latest to allow for a “Tally Rally” – when we compile a list of our sightings – which will take place either under the big oak tree at the Washington Youth Garden, or an indoor location to be determined.

MEETING PLACE: We will meet at 9:00 a.m. in the parking lot of the Arboretum Visitor Center near the R Street entrance. As one enters from R Street, the lot is to the left. Based on the number of participants, we may carpool from there to other locations. For directions and additional information, visit the Arboretum’s website at

WHO:  ALL ARE WELCOME. No experience is necessary. All are invited to come out and have fun while contributing to butterfly study and conservation. One caveat: the count is not recommended for small children (under age 10-12) given the expected heat, lots of sun, and tall, brambly vegetation.

I would encourage you to count for at least a couple of hours, but you don’t need to commit to a full day.

WHERE: We will be counting only within the grounds of the Arboretum, which encompasses a wide variety of habitats – from open field to forest to cultivated gardens. Our primary areas of focus will be the National Herb Garden and adjacent fields, Fern Valley, the Washington Youth Garden, the road along the Anacostia River and adjacent gardens, and the fields lying at the Arboretum’s center along Meadow and Holly Spring Roads.

EQUIPMENT: Wear comfortable field clothing, remembering the seasonal realities of a hot sun in open meadows, poison ivy, ticks, and the possibility of biting insects. We will be doing a lot of walking on well cleared paths and roadways, but there may be some “bush whacking'” through high grass with lots of brambles, poison ivy, and even very nasty mile-a-minute. So long pants with cuffs tucked into socks and comfortable walking shoes are encouraged. Also be sure to bring sun screen, insect repellent, and a hat.

Bring lots of water (and Gatorade), and lunch. There are restrooms located at a few strategic locations around the Arboretum.

Close focus binoculars are very helpful, and we encourage you to bring cameras. There will be plenty of plants – if not butterflies – to photograph, though priority will be on counting butterflies rather than on waiting for photographers to shoot. I will have butterfly field guides, but bring one if you have one.

On many counts, butterflies are netted – “catch and release” – for identification. However, on this count NO NETTING WILL BE ALLOWED. That means that no nets can be carried or used.

COUNTING FEE: $3 for ages 12 and older. This fee is passed along to the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) to cover the costs of coordinating the counts and compiling the data.

CONTACT INFORMATION: If you plan to participate or have any questions feel free to get in touch with me. I prefer email.

Tom Stock

Cell phone: (202) 577-6831



One final note – for those of you wondering what species might be seen on this count, I went out to the Arboretum on Sunday, July 4th and saw the following:

Pipevine Swallowtail (1)
Zebra Swallowtail (1)
Black Swallowtail (1)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (5)
Spicebush Swallowtail (2)
Cabbage White (14)
Clouded Sulphur (1)
Orange Sulphur (3)
Eastern Tailed Blue (9)
Great Spangled Fritillary (1)
Pearl Crescent (2)
American Lady (1)
Red Admiral (1) ovipositing on nettle
Common Buckeye (1)
Red-spotted Purple (1)
Monarch (1)
Silver-spotted Skipper (10)
Hayhurst’s Scallopwing (1)
Horace’s Duskywing (18)
Wild Indigo Duskywing (1)
Least Skipper (18)
Peck’s Skipper (14)
Sachem (approx. 150)

(Rick notes that on his USNA visit in the scorching heat on July 5, he also picked up Sleepy Orange and Gray Hairstreak. See you on the 17th!)

This entry was posted in checklists, Events and Meetings, general butterfly news, Maryland Big Year, state butterflies, Washington Area Butterfly Club. Bookmark the permalink.

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