Triad Chapter – Bethabara Park, May 30, 2015

We had a great turn out of 15 folks yesterday for the Carolina Butterfly Society Triad Chapter butterfly walk in the old Moravian settlement, Historic Bethabara Park, in Winston Salem (Forsyth County), NC. First we checked the progress of the expansion of the butterfly garden hosted by CBS member Harriet McCarthy, who is in charge of both the oldest medicinal garden in the US as well as the new butterfly garden. Then we spent some time looking for butterflies around the grounds and the adjacent part of the greenway led by Gene Schepker.

Considering the paucity of butterflies in the eastern part of the Carolinas this year, we did pretty well. We saw a total of 40 butterflies of 14 species. Included among them were two particularly notable butterflies. The first was a Harvester that was perched on a blade of grass on its side just an inch or so off the wet ground. Not only is it good to see that species, the behavior was odd. Perhaps it was trying to dry our and warm up after a rainy night. (A photo is attached.) The second notable butterfly was a pearly-eye.

One of our group spotted the pearly-eye in the edge of the woods in dense shade where it was hard to see next to the brightly lit greenway. Someone in the group speculated that it could be a Creole pearly-eye, probably the least common of the three species of pearly-eyes that we have in most places in NC. Using their camera flashes, several folks got photos of it perched on the side of a tree at about eye level, which was good because it was hard to make out the details in the low light.

It clearly wasn’t a Southern Pearly-eye because the antennal clubs, which were visible even in the shade, were orange and black, not all black. That narrowed the choices to Creole Pearly-eye and Northern Pearly-eye. Creoles usually have 5 spots on the forewing, but none of the photos showed more than 4 on the one we were looking at, even though it did move it’s forewing up and down a slight bit. That left the other field mark, the so-called “knuckles” on the median forewing line. It did have some small knuckle-like extensions but they weren’t as largely “knuckled” as might be expected. Consequently, we’ve concluded that it was a Northern Pearly-eye. I’ve attached one of my photos.

For photos see the Triad Chapter Photos page

The complete list:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 4
Cabbage White 6
Orange Sulphur 1
Sleepy Orange 1
Harvester 1
Eastern Tailed-Blue 6
Great Spangled Fritillary 3
“Summer” Azure 1
American Lady 2
Northern Pearly-eye 1
Silver-spotted Skipper 5
Hoarace’s Duskywing 1
Sachem 2
Zabulon Skipper 6 (all males)

Totals: 40 butterflies of 14 species


Dennis E. Burnette