Pettigrew State Park, NC NABA Count – Sept 5, 2015


Saturday (Sept. 5), nine brave butterfliers defied questionable weather forecasts to count butterflies in the Lake Phelps area in Washington and Tyrrell counties. Though the rain pretty much missed us, and the mostly cloudy skies weren’t much of a factor, the strong NE winds from 12-18 mph made things difficult, especially in the wide open fields north of the lake. It was probably the windiest count we had ever been on.

Thankfully, we split up into 6 parties, so the final tally makes it appear like the count was a great success (45 species is average, and 50 would be a real success.) Though butterfly numbers are up from the past two years, skipper numbers are still low, especially for various wetland species, and some skipper species had presumably already finished their broods by Sept. 5. Thanks to Ed Corey for recruiting folks for the count and helping out; thanks also to Lori Carlson and John Jarvis, to Elisa and Nick Flanders, to Signa and Floyd Williams, and to Salman Abdulali for helping with me. Here are the totals, with a few comments:

Zebra Swallowtail 12
Black Swallowtail 2
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 57
Spicebush Swallowtail 16
Palamedes Swallowtail 148
Cabbage White 6
Orange Sulphur 194 good count
Cloudless Sulphur 360
Little Yellow 1 rare in the region, and first record for Washington County
Sleepy Orange 707
Great Purple Hairstreak 9 good count
Gray Hairstreak 63 good count
Red-banded Hairstreak 17
Eastern Tailed-Blue 2
Summer Azure 27
Gulf Fritillary 1 rare in the region
Variegated Fritillary 14
Pearl Crescent 176
Question Mark 2
American Lady 4
Painted Lady 1 scarce in NC this year
Red Admiral 32
Common Buckeye 134
Red-spotted Purple 22
Viceroy 25
Southern Pearly-eye 9
Creole Pearly-eye 1
Carolina Satyr 17
Common Wood-Nymph 4
Monarch 5
Silver-spotted Skipper 220
Long-tailed Skipper 1 scarce in NC this year
Horace’s Duskywing 4
Common Checkered-Skipper 12
Common Sootywing 7
Clouded Skipper 5
Least Skipper 74
Fiery Skipper 223
Southern Broken-dash 1
Little Glassywing 1 photo documentation for confirmation; scarce in this region
Sachem 9
Zabulon Skipper 1
Dion Skipper 3
Dun Skipper 3
Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper 2
Ocola Skipper 52

Total: 46 species

Harry LeGrand