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 http://www.jeffpippen.com/butterflies/durhamcount.htm

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