30-Species Day at the National Arboretum

In a day more typical of September than of high summer, Tom Stock and I compiled a quick list of 30 butterfly species, 29 of them in the Youth and Butterfly Gardens, at the US National Arboretum yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.  It was a spur-of-the-moment trip for both of us, me after spending the day yesterday at Bombay Hook on a shorebird field trip and Tom’s first foray back after a family vacation on the Outer Banks.

We both showed up a little before 2 pm; by 3:30 or so we’d tallied the first 29 and Tom had to leave.  I figured I’d easily get the pipevine swallowtails that have been regulars on the Dutchman’s pipe vines over the pergolas at the herb garden, but to my surprise there was not a pipevine in sight.  But the 30-species goal was met with a couple of monarchs on the Joe-pye weed near the Administration building.

Biggest surprise of the day was undoubtedly the high numbers (8) of Southern broken-dash.  Biggest disappointment was a very fresh orange skipper with absolutely no underwing patterns and that stubbornly refused to spread wings and give us a pattern to ID on the upperwings.  Quite perplexing.  Forced a march back to the car to get the butterfly net and surreptitiously nabbing the little enigma while avoiding the ARS security van.  All that trouble for what turned out to be a male sachem.

Unfortunately, the BIS database at NABA seems to be on the fritz again so these totals won’t be in the most correct phylogenetic order, but you’ll get the idea:

Eastern tiger swallowtail – common

Spicebush swallowtail – common

Cabbage white – 3

Orange sulphur – 1 (white form female)

Sleepy orange – 1

Little yellow – 4

Cloudless sulphur – 1

Red-banded hairstreak – 2

Gray hairstreak – 2

Eastern tailed-blue – common

“Summer” spring azure — 2

American snout – 1

Pearl crescent — common

American lady – 2

Red admiral – 1

Question mark – 1

Monarch – 2 (seen by Rick only, at the National Herb Garden)

Silver-spotted skipper – 9

Common sootywing – 1

Hayhurst’s scallopwing – 3

Horace’s duskywing – 1

Least skipper – 3

Peck’s skipper – 4

Fiery skipper – 8

Dun skipper – 3

Little glassywing – common

Sachem – 10

Zabulon skipper – 4

Southern broken-dash – 8

Crossline skipper – 3

This entry was posted in Field Trips/Annual Counts, sightings. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 30-Species Day at the National Arboretum

  1. Susan OBX says:

    Thanks for sharing about these butterflies! Hope you enjoyed the trips.

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