Saturday, August 12, 2017

Charlottesville Annual 2017 Butterfly Count in Albemarle County Virginia

Butterfly Counters (hat and binoculars required gear)
While Charlottesville made national news due to violence in our lovely historic downtown, I was out participating in the annual North American Butterfly Count for Albemarle County.

You can't help but have a favorite, the Northern Pearly Eye.
Two teams of mainly Virginia Master Naturalists headed out at 10 am to count butterflies. One group was dispatched to Crozet and the other to Kemper Park (the nature trail that traverses up to Monticello). Temperatures were more moderate today, only 90 degrees compared to 97 last year! Getting overheated is to be expected. The day began with fog and light sprinkles of rain but the sun came out and so did the butterflies!

This year our butterfly count was held just north of Kemper Park at the adjacent property, Secluded Farm. It's a lightly hiked area that features big swaths of open meadows and forest land.

The official numbers have not been tabulated but our butterfly sightings were fairly light. The most commonly spotted butterflies were the little Silvery Checkerspot, Skippers, and the black Spicebush Swallowtail.

Spicebush Swallowtail on Thistle flower
It was remarked that the annual count is a favorite event for many of us. Immersed in nature, seeing a variety of native plants, insects, magnificently huge trees, and of course butterflies. There is always something in nature that is totally new. I discovered several plants and shrubs that I had never seen. A Master Naturalist snapped a Spice Bush limb and we all smelled it's lovely scent. Who knew! There were also plenty of unusual Dragonflies lighted on twigs.

Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly

I have to wonder why people can't find something meaningful to do with their time other than spew hate. What a waste of a perfectly beautiful day in Virginia. I'm so fortunate to live in a normally peaceful town that welcomes diversity and has respect for all creatures great and small.

~ Rebecca

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