Last Saturday’s Annual DC Count

Six of us convened at the US National Arboretum for the annual NABA count on Saturday under the leadership of count organizer Tom Stock, who had warned us that his advance scouting mission didn’t offer much hope of a good year.  Add to that some last minute tension with the folks associated with the Washington Youth Garden, and we were prepared for a rather unproductive count.

In the event, we didn’t do too badly, even though the Arboretum was a dry as I’ve ever seen it.  We tallied 27 species (versus 32 last year). And we got a last-minute reprieve to check out the normally productive mints and lantana in the fenced in garden (even though volunteers were working there); a good thing, since as long as we were there in the morning the WYG (not the Arboretum staff) kept the water sprinklers on in the butterfly garden.  When we came back for a second run at the WYG a little before 1 pm, the gate was locked and all we could do was gaze wistfully at the small cloud of skippers too far away to ID.

But all was not lost; we did pick up a couple of interesting leps, including one not seen last year:  White M hairstreak (whose nether end Beth Johnson captured well!):

Our plans to include Kenilworth Aquatic Garden (site of the District’s first official silvery checkerspot record just last year) were scuttled by the massive Water Lily Festival, which brought hordes of visitors to this normally sleepy wetland.  But we’ll plan to avoid the Festival next year and see if we can pick up a few more butterflies — Appalachian brown and little wood satyr occur there regularly.

Here’s the final list for 2011, provided by leader Tom Stock:

Black Swallowtail (1)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (13)
Spicebush Swallowtail (4)
Cabbage White (13)
Orange Sulphur (3)
Sleepy Orange (1)
White M Hairstreak (1)
Gray Hairstreak (2)
Red-banded Hairstreak (5)
Eastern Tailed Blue (7)
Summer Azure (2)
Variegated Fritillary (1)
Great Spangled Fritillary (1)
Pearl Crescent (4)
Silvery Checkerspot (2)
American Lady (1)
Common Buckeye (2)
Red-spotted Purple (3)
Monarch (3)
Silver-spotted Skipper (43)
Hayhurst’s Scallopwing (9)
Horace’s Duskywing (9)
Wild Indigo Duskywing (1)
Least Skipper (22)
Peck’s Skipper (13)
Cross Line Skipper (1)
Sachem (68)

Species: 27
Individuals: 247
Party hours: 6
Party miles by foot: 2.5
Party miles by car: 0

This entry was posted in checklists, Events and Meetings, general butterfly news, sightings, Washington Area Butterfly Club. Bookmark the permalink.

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