Category Archives: NABA

Weymouth Woods NP NABA Count — June 15, 2017

Despite weather forecast, 4 of us counted at Weymouth on June 15. With an early start to beat incoming storms we had a Kings at 820am! In the afternoon as the rain came I continued on to the Sandhills game land portions of the count circle to add a few more things before getting totally washed out and almost struck by lightning, yikes! Not much nectar at Weymouth, some at the game lands so with better weather we could probably have a decent count. It took a little effort at Weymouth but eventually got insanely close views of both hairstreaks, like selfie close, no stick required.

7 E tiger swallowtail
9 spicebush swallowtail
2 Palamedes swallowtail
5 Kings Hairstreak (lifer for some)
4 Edwards Hairstreak (lifer for all but me, including a visiting birder/bugger from AZ)
6 E tailed blue
8 Summer Azure
3 Variegated Fritillary
3 Pearl Crescent
6 American Lady
27 Common Buckeye
1 Southern Pearly-eye (lifer for one)
4 Carolina Satyr
4 Southern Cloudywing
5 Zarucco’s Duskywing
1 Horace’s Duskywing
1 Sachem

17 sp, en easy mark to beat next year I guess…
Thanks to John, Lori and Salman for coming out!

Brian Bockhahn

The Great Dismal Swamp SP NABA Count — April 13, 2017

5 intrepid counters¬†didn’t expect diversity and got that with just 16 species, we¬†missed one of¬†our targets Hessel’s hairstreak though back in the cedars I did see one suspect hairstreak¬†that circled high into the tree canopy.¬† There was almost no nectar around the host plant stands, little elsewhere too,¬†really a tough bug to find though as I’ve missed it much more than found it.

Numbers were there, as we broke the one day high count of 900 Palamedes Swallowtail that was set on 9 Sep 2000.  Our total of 1206 was quite accurate, as there was very little else to distract us so I counted them closely.  The massive block of swamp was full of them, border areas or outlying ag fields were devoid of them!

We may consider another count attempt¬†in late July during the second brood of Hessels…

85 Zebra Swallowtail
32 E tiger Swallowtail
7 Spicebush Swallowtail
1206 Palamedes Swallowtail
4 Falcate Orangetip
5 Orange Sulphur
1 Cloudless Sulphur
26 Red-banded Hairstreak
14 E tailed-blue
5 Holly Azure
1 Summer Azure (fresh)
1 Variegated Fritillary
1 Eastern Comma
38 Pearl Crescent
6 American Lady
2 Silver-spotted Skipper

Brian Bockhahn

Congaree NP NABA Count – Oct 1, 2016

Here is our list from the Congaree Bluffs HP section of the Congaree NP NABA Count.

Location: Congaree Bluffs HP
Date: 1 Oct 2016
Observers: Donna and Dennis Forsythe
Time: 1240-1340 hours
Distance: 0.5 mi
Weather, clear, calm ca 82 f
Coverage: We looked around 1st parking lot, walked to observation platform , did not go down to the river
Cloudless Sulfur 5
Little Yellow 45
Ceraunus Blue 2
Eastern Tailed-Blue 3
Gulf Fritillary 12
Variegated Fritillary 13
Common Buckeye 3
Red-spotted Purple 1
Carolina Satyr 2 bent PM line
Southern Cloudywing 1
White Checkered Skipper 11
Tropical Checkered-Skipper 1 very worn, county record

Here are our results for the Calhoun East part of the Congaree NP NABA Count

Location: Congaree East
Date: 1 Oct 2016
Observers: Donna and Dennis Forsythe
Time: 1130-1240;1340-1600 hours
Distance: 19 mi
Weather, clear, calm ca 76-82 f
Coverage: Purple Martin marsh, roads below Ft Motte, Lang Syne, Longstreet Rds, St Matthews City Park
Comments: most farmland ditches clean with no vegetation.
Black Swallowtail 1
Cloudless Sulfur 90
Sleepy Orange 15
Little Yellow 25
Gulf Fritillary 28
Variegated Fritillary 1
American Lady 1
Common Buckeye 5
Pearl Crescent 3
Red-spotted Purple 1
Long-tailed Skipper 1
White Checkered-Skipper 18
Clouded Skipper 6
Southern Skipperling 2 very fresh
Fiery Skipper 4
Sachem 3 2 males 1 female
Whirlabout 1 female
Sachem 1 male
Ocola Skipper 2

Dennis Forsythe

Mayo River/Rockingham County NABA Count – Sept 1, 2016

Mayo River/Rockingham County Butterfly Count
Thursday September 1 2016 0815-1515
72 to 92 degrees, rain after noon, deluge at 3pm ended the count

4 intrepid observers counted until the rain washed us out, finding 38 species (average 46) in just a few hours. Several satyrs and skippers were very worn and fading, leading us to think we were 1-2 weeks too late, or the “season” ended earlier than normal.

4 Pipevine swallowtail
2 Black swallowtail
64 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
7 Spicebush swallowtail

3 Cabbage white
1 Clouded Sulphur
5 Cloudless Sulphur
1 Sleepy Orange

7 Gray Hairstreak
1 Red-banded Hairstreak
125 Eastern Tailed-blue
3 Summer Azure

1 American Snout
2 Variegated Fritillary
4 Great Spangled Fritillary
17 Silvery Checkerspot
22 Pearl Crescent
38 Common Buckeye
16 Red-spotted Purple
1 Viceroy
14 Hackberry Emperor
2 Tawny Emperor
3 Gemmed Satyr
95 Carolina Satyr
3 Monarch

5 Silver-spotted skipper
5 Common Checkered-skipper
3 Swarthy skipper
26 Clouded skipper
4 Least skipper
3 Fiery skipper
4 Crossline skipper
2 Southern broken-dash
18 Little glassywing
72 Sachem
3 Delaware skipper
1 Zabulon skipper
3 Dun skipper

Misses include Question Mark, Eastern Comma, American Lady, Northern Pearly-eye, Common Wood-nymph, Pecks skipper, Tawny-edge skipper, Northern Broken-dash, Ocola skipper.

Brian Bockhahn

Hanging Rock NABA Count – Aug 31 2016

Hanging Rock Butterfly Count
Wednesday August 31 2016 0900-1900
75 to 88 degrees, no clouds, clear.

7 observers tallied 41 species, matching last year’s total.

2 Black swallowtail
63 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
1 Spicebush swallowtail

1 Cabbage white
1 Orange Sulphur
16 Cloudless Sulphur
3 Sleepy Orange

1 Harvester
8 Gray Hairstreak
185 Eastern Tailed-blue
28 Summer Azure

2 Great Spangled Fritillary
4 Silvery Checkerspot
95 Pearl Crescent
1 Question Mark
1 Eastern Comma
12 Common Buckeye
15 Red-spotted Purple
4 Hackberry Emperor
2 Tawny Emperor
3 Northern Pearly-eye
8 Gemmed Satyr
253 Carolina Satyr
4 Common Wood-nypmh
1 Monarch

1 Silver-spotted skipper
2 Horace’s Duskywing
2 Common Checkered-skipper
4 Swarthy skipper
13 Clouded skipper
4 Least skipper
3 Pecks skipper
1 Tawny-edged skipper
2 Southern broken-dash
4 Northern broken-dash
3 Little glassywing
150 Sachem
5 Delaware skipper
4 Zabulon skipper
6 Dun skipper
1 Eufala skipper (new to park, maybe county)

Misses include: Pipevine Swallowtail, Clouded Sulphur, Red-banded Hairstreak, Variegated Fritillary, American Lady, Red Admiral, Viceroy, Fiery Skipper, Crossline, Ocola skipper.

Brian Bockhahn

Southern Lake Norman NABA Count – Aug 14, 2016

The Southern Lake Norman Butterfly Count was held Sunday August 14, 2016 under extremely hot and humid conditions. Starting temps were in the low 80’s, with an afternoon peak of 95 F. Despite this, 15 participants in 6 parties counted 1773 individuals of 61 species. The species count equals the all-time high for this count from 2012.
Good finds included White-M Hairstreak in Rob Van Epp’s yard at the end of the day, Juniper Hairstreak, Painted Lady, Long-tailed Skipper and Eufala Skipper. Notable misses were Tawny Emperor and Eastern Comma.

Thanks to everyone for volunteering their time under harsh conditions.

Pipevine Swallowtail 17
Zebra Swallowtail 37
Black Swallowtail 4
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 146
Spicebush Swallowtail 4
Cabbage White 1
Orange Sulfur 12
Cloudless Sulfur 32
Little Yellow 1
Sleepy Orange 28
Red-banded Hairstreak 2
Juniper Hairstreak 1
White-M Hairstreak 1
Gray Hairstreak 4
Azure 2
Eastern Tailed- blue 96
Am. Snout 10
Gulf Fritillary 2
Variegated Fritillary 24
Great Spangled Fritillary 6
Silvery Checkerspot 4
Pearl Crescent 29
Questionmark 2
Painted Lady 1
Am. Lady 3
Red Admiral 2
Com. Buckeye 118
Red-spotted Purple 15
Viceroy 14
Hackberry Emperor 9
N. Pearly-eye 10
Creole Pearly-eye 2
Appalachian Brown 1
Gemmed Satyr 2
Carolina Sa. 455
Com. Wood-Nymph 5
Monarch 6
Silver-spotted Skipper 74
Long-tailed Skipper 1
Hoary Edge 3
S. Cloudywing 3
Horace’s Duskywing 17
Com. Checkered-Sk. 11
Com. Sootywing 8
Swarthy Sk. 1
Clouded Sk. 50
Least Sk. 16
S. Skipperling 1
Fiery Sk. 99
Tawny-edged Skipper 1
Crossline Sk. 1
S. Broken-Dash 4
N. Broken-Da. 3
Little Glassywing 35
Sachem 156
Delaware Sk. 32
Zabulon Sk. 96
Dun Sk. 11
Lace-winged Roadside-skipper 2
Eufala Sk. 2
Ocola Sk. 42

Taylor Piephoff
Matthews, NC

Pilot Mountain/Surry County NABA Count – Aug 24, 2016

8 observers put in several hours on Aug 24 for the Pilot Mountain/Surry County butterfly count. Temps 73-83, mostly cloudy skies. From mountain summit, to feeder creeks, corridor trail and Yadkin river section of the park, more habitat than we had time to cover, lots of nectar, thistle was boomin!

From Lori Carlson: I have a photo album up on Flickr that contains the suspected Cloudeds. The album link is here:

Tentative results below. 52 sp.

8 Pipevine Swallowtail
7 Black Swallowtail
321 E Tiger Swallowtail
12 Spicebush Swallowtail

2 Cabbage White
24 Clouded Sulphur
24 Cloudless sulphur
1 Little Yellow
69 Sleepy Orange

5 Gray Hairstreak
2 Red-banded Hairstreak
35 E tailed blue
26 Summer Azure

1 American Snout
17 Variegated Fritillary
34 Great Spangled Fritillary
520 Silvery Checkerspot
75 Pearl Crescent
2 Question Mark
3 American Lady
4 Red Admiral
21 Common Buckeye
12 Red-spotted Purple
1 Viceroy
1 Tawny Emperor
1 Southern Pearly-eye
1 Creole Pearly-eye
15 Northern Pearly-eye
3 Appalachian Brown (new site that should be reliable!)
8 Gemmed Satyr
1037 Carolina Satyr
1 Common Wood-nymph
7 Monarch

4 Silver-spotted skipper
1 horaces duskywing
1 Common checkered-skipper
9 Common Sootywing (new site)
2 Swarthy Skipper
18 clouded skipper
45 least skipper
2 fiery skipper
3 Pecks skipper
4 Tawny-edged skipper
10 Crossline skipper
1 norhtern broken dash
6 little glassywing
382 sachem
52 deleware skipper
14 zabulon skipper
1 Dun skipper
1 Common Roadside-skipper
1 EUFALA SKIPPER (new site, photographed by most of us!)

Misses include Zebra swallowtail, orange sulphur, eastern comma, painted lady, hackberry emperor, hoary edge, any cloudywing, lace-winged roadside skipper (looked hard in usual spots), southern broken dash and Ocola skipper.

Brian Bockhahn

Pettigrew State Park NABA Count – Aug 28, 2016

Yesterday (August 28), the Pettigrew SP, NC, butterfly count was held, under relatively poor conditions — mostly cloudy and somewhat threatening skies and winds of 10-12 mph. The afternoon was cloudy with a few sprinkles here and there, but winds were still an issue. We had outstanding coverage, with six parties: Jeff Pippen and me; Ed Corey; Salman Abdulali; Signa and Floyd Williams; Nick and Elisa Flanders; and Randy Emmitt and Tom and Barbara Driscoll.

Zebra Swallowtail 49
Black Swallowtail 24
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 98
Spicebush Swallowtail 32
Palamedes Swallowtail 207
Cabbage White 12
Orange Sulphur 77
Cloudless Sulphur 511
Sleepy Orange 1,090
Gray Hairstreak 14
Red-banded Hairstreak 3 low
Eastern Tailed-Blue 4 always scarce on this count, for no obvious reason
Summer Azure 70
Variegated Fritillary 69
Pearl Crescent 138
Question Mark 5
Eastern Comma 1
Red Admiral 24
Common Buckeye 116
Red-spotted Purple 21
Viceroy 37
Southern Pearly-eye 6 good number of pearly-eyes of both species
Creole Pearly-eye 2
pearly-eye sp. 3
Carolina Satyr 9 low; did not attempt to discern if any might be Intricates
Common Wood-Nymph 2
Monarch 6 only seen by one party!
Silver-spotted Skipper 169
Horace’s Duskywing 3
Zarucco Duskywing 1 scarce in the area
Common Checkered-Skipper 22
Common Sootywing 22
Clouded Skipper 2 low
Least Skipper 341 very high, at least relative to other skippers
Fiery Skipper 51
Sachem 1
Dion Skipper 7
Dun Skipper 2 quite low
Twin-spot Skipper 1 at northern edge of range
Ocola Skipper 37

Total: a very disappointing 39 species

Misses: Great Purple Hairstreak; American Lady; a wide variety of grass skippers we often get 1-2 individuals of, such as Whirlabout and Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper; and migrants such as Gulf Fritillary and Painted Lady. Though the first two were the only usual misses, with 5-6 parties and decent conditions, we usually get lots of ones and twos in the skippers and migrants that fill in holes to get to 45 or rarely 50 species.

What were much big bigger issues than the weather were the continued clearing and herbiciding of many ditches and canals in the area, and very sadly the obvious mosquito spraying that took place in much of the count circle, as evidenced by a near lack of most grass skippers and many other insects (including mosquitoes) where nectar sources were abundant. Masses of coastal Joe-pye-weed, ironweed, verbena, climbing hempweed, swamp milkweed, pickerelweed, etc., were devoid of nearly all butterflies and bees/wasps, even including swallowtails. This year has seen an increase in most butterfly populations across North Carolina since the devastating snow, ice, and freezes back in early 2013, but this area has been devastated by spraying. It was difficult to find skippers other than Least and Silver-spotted, but if you go to other areas of the Coastal Plain, this skipper dearth isn’t really a problem.

I want to sincerely thank the efforts of all of the observers, nearly all of whom had to travel 2-3 hours from their homes to reach the count circle, only to be confronted with a lack of skippers. Better butterflying back in your home areas!

Harry LeGrand

Durham NABA Count – Aug 21, 2016


Again this year the annual Durham Butterfly Count produced above average numbers of butterflies making a very successful day! Conducted yesterday (21 Aug 2016), six field parties and one garden watcher cumulatively tallied 5096 individual butterflies comprising 57 species within a 15 mile diameter circle in Durham, NC. While most species showed up in generally average numbers (based on 18 years of conducting this survey), we found near record high numbers for three species (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Pearl Crescent, Carolina Satyr), and we set new record highs for four species (Cloudless Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Silvery Checkerspot, Hackberry Emperor). Skipper numbers overall were around average, and we found no mega-rarities. We rarely see Common Wood-Nymphs in large numbers, but this is the first year we’ve missed them entirely.

The weather was partly cloudy, hot, and humid. A couple of passing showers interrupted a couple of the northern parties for 15 minutes or so, but as soon as the rain dissipated, the sun returned, and the butterflies again took flight. My team actually saw several butterflies flying around in the rain including swallowtails, checkerspots, and satyrs.

Detailed results, links to a few photos, and other information may be found at

Brian Bockhahn’s team tallied the most individuals (1514), and the Krakauer/Pippen team found the greatest species diversity (42). Many thanks to all who helped make this a fun and productive day exploring fields and forests: Brian Bockhahn, Lori Carlson, Will Cook, Tom Driscoll, Randy Emmitt, Laura Hamon, John Jarvis, Tom Krakauer, Kelly Mieszkalski, Kati Moore, Mai Anh Ngo, Byron Perry, Jeffrey Pippen, Richard Stickney, and Derek & Elissa Treuer.

Here’s the species list and grand totals for the day:

Pipevine Swallowtail 11
Zebra Swallowtail 2
Black Swallowtail 9
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 1024
Spicebush Swallowtail 25
Cabbage White 7
Clouded Sulphur 1
Orange Sulphur 9
Cloudless Sulphur 378
Little Yellow 1
Sleepy Orange 592
Juniper Hairstreak 2
Gray Hairstreak 13
Red-banded Hairstreak 3
Eastern Tailed-Blue 125
Summer Azure 29
American Snout 14
Variegated Fritillary 57
Great Spangled Fritillary 5
Silvery Checkerspot 353
Pearl Crescent 512
Question Mark 12
Eastern Comma 10
American Lady 4
Red Admiral 57
Common Buckeye 270
Red-spotted Purple 68
Viceroy 9
Hackberry Emperor 46
Tawny Emperor 36
Northern Pearly-eye 4
Appalachian Brown 3
Gemmed Satyr 7
Carolina Satyr 408
Monarch 18
Silver-spotted Skipper 236
Hoary Edge 2
Southern Cloudywing 2
Horace’s Duskywing 21
Zarucco Duskywing 1
Wild Indigo Duskywing 6
Com. Checkered-Skipper 11
Common Sootywing 1
Swarthy Skipper 33
Clouded Skipper 54
Least Skipper 39
Fiery Skipper 308
Tawny-edged Skipper 2
Crossline Skipper 13
Southern Broken-Dash 15
Little Glassywing 21
Sachem 83
Delaware Skipper 11
Zabulon Skipper 61
Dion Skipper 7
Dun Skipper 13
Ocola Skipper 32

Good Butterflying,


Jeffrey S. Pippen
Durham, NC

North Buncombe NABA Count – Aug 5, 2016

Almost postponed the date as the weather prediction was mostly cloudy and 60% rain. Well, it did rain on 2 groups, but not on 2. And we had mostly sun all day.
The “copper meadows” did not produce a single copper this year. And meadows at end of Cedar Hill trail had been recently bulldozed. Monarch was another sad miss. As were Crossline and Hayhurst’s Scallopwing. So we were very lucky to end up with 52 species; individual numbers low – 1231. This was our 7th count. Our species numbers have ranged from 51 to 55. Individuals from 937 to 2726.

Participants were Doug Johnston, Simon Thompson, Jamie Harrelson, Nancy Cowal, Sue Perry, Joe Tomcho, Dan and Joanne Lazar, and myself.

Gail Lankford

Pipevine ST – 17
Black ST – 7
E. Tiger ST – 128
Spicebush ST – 25
Cabbage White – 49
Clouded Sulphur – 24
Orange Sulphur – 35
Cloudless Sulphur – 21
Gray HS – 6
Red-banded HS – 1
ETB – 153
Summer Azure – 10
Harvester – 1 (first on count)
Variegated Frit – 29
GS Frit – 14
Meadow Frit – 21
Silvery Checkerspot – 2
Pearl Crescent – 120
Question Mark – 2
Eastern Comma – 3
American Lady – 5
Red Admiral – 3
C. Buckeye – 76
Red spotted Purple – 14
Viceroy – 4
Hackberry Emperor – 1
No. Pearly-eye – 30
Gemmed Satyr – 20
Carolina Satyr – 71
Common Wood-nymph – 9
SSS – 1-9
Hoary-edge – 1
Southern Cloudywing – 4
No. Cloudywing – 1
Horace’s Duskywing – 2
Mottled DW – 2
Zarucco DW – 4
Wild Indigo DW – 24
C. Checkered Skipper – 15
C. Sootywing – 1
Swarthy Skipper – 8
Clouded Skipper – 5
Least Skipper — 1
Fiery Skipper – 25
Peck’s Skipper – 25
Tawny-edged Skipper – 2
Little Glassywing – 1
Sachem – 33
Zabulon Skipper – 48
Dun Skipper – 12
Lace-winged RS Skipper – 6
Ocola Skipper – 1