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annual butterfly count, west rutland’s seventeenth

White Admirals on animal scat

Rutland County Audubon undertook its seventeenth annual “July 4” West Rutland Butterfly Count on Saturday, July 3.The North American Butterfly Association’s counts, now in their thirty-sixth year, are organized along the lines of the Audubon’s Annual Christmas Bird Counts within circles of 15 miles diameter that once designated, remain constant.  The first West Rutland count was organized by Monica and Alan Gregory in 1994.

Ten participants took to the field at 9:00 a.m. on a clear but humid morning with a temperature reading of 68° F.  By the time the day was over for the last participant about 3:30 p.m. the temperature was hovering around 87° F. 

The 35 species tallied was in fact equal to the average over the past 16 years while the individual tally was some 116 short of the average.  Looking over the species diversity and numbers, the highs and the lows over the past 16 years, it would appear that there is neither constancy nor predictability although the counts were undertaken in the same areas and almost on the same calendar date.  One variable seems to be the maturity and passage of the season and that of supportive plant growth.

It was nice to record two Dion Skippers, a species included in “Vermont’s Sweet Sixteen.”

For the most part no attempt was made to differentiate between Northern Crescent and Pearl Crescent, hence Crescent sp.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (1), Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (1), Tiger Swallowtail sp. (2), Cabbage White (33), Clouded Sulphur (101), Bronze Copper (2), Coral Hairstreak (1), Acadian Hairstreak (1), Eastern Tailed-Blue (26), Great Spangled Fritillary (27), Aphrodite Fritillary (14), Atlantis Fritillary (4), Meadow Fritillary (172), Crescent sp. (34), Baltimore Checkerspot (3), Question Mark (2), Eastern Comma (2), Painted Lady (1), Red Admiral (6), White Admiral (2), Viceroy (2), Eyed Brown (13), Common Ringlet (5), Common Wood Nymph (12), Monarch (23), Least Skipper (5), European Skipper (60), Indian Skipper (1), Peck’s Skipper (4), Tawny-edged Skipper (1), Long Dash (3), Northern Broken-Dash (7), Little Glassywing (23), Dun Skipper (4), Dion Skipper (2).  Total individuals, (600).  Total species, (35).

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