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Saturday
Jun162012

watch us Temporarily Lose our Senses – 2012 Butterfly Count

For one day each summer Rutland County Audubon members and friends temporarily lose their senses as they forsake their traditional bird quest for a butterfly quest!  

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly | Photo by Marv Elliott

On Saturday, July 7, at 9:00 in the morning, we will gather at the West Rutland Price Chopper parking area in anticipation of the West Rutland butterfly count. Butterfly counts parallel Christmas Bird Counts in that they occur at a particular time of year and are restricted to a single day in a circle of prescribed 15 mile diameter.  

The West Rutland count was inaugurated in 1994 by the late Monica Gregory, making this the nineteenth consecutive count, one of the longest running in Vermont. We can anticipate a nice variety of butterflies, thirty-four being an average number of species encountered but the number of individual butterflies can vary widely from a low of 150 to a high of 2090 depending upon recent weather conditions and flights. 

The local butterfly counts are part of a larger effort sponsored by the North American Butterfly Association, now in its thirty-eighth year. For those wishing to have their names recorded as participants in the report published by the NABA, there is a $3 donation.       Counting usually proceeds throughout the day with a break for lunch, so bring something to eat and plenty to drink. Since we will be moving through grassy and brushy areas preparedness should be exercised for the probability of encountering ticks!   

Those with butterfly nets will be capturing several specimens that will be temporarily restrained in glass jars for all to see enabling both immediate identification and reference going forward as the count progresses. The learning curve is surprisingly steep and as competence is gained so is the enjoyment and admiration of these delightful winged creatures.

The count otherwise is free and open to the public. If you have a butterfly net, be sure to bring it along. For further information concerning the West Rutland count call Roy at 775-3461.

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