Trip Reports – 2009

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Davidson County, NC, June 2, 2009



On Tuesday, June 2, nine of us (*) enjoyed the perfect butterfly weather (a little hot for humans, but tolerable) to pursue butterflies n Davidson County. We spent the morning at Boone’s Cave Park, which is on the Yadkin River in the western side of the count circle and had lunch at the pavilion there. Sheila Zuccaro, who manages Boone’s Cave Park, led us on several trails with hilltops, riverside, wetlands, and open grassy/gravel areas. The highlight was encountering many Banded Hairstreaks dogfighting in groups of 2 to 7 – our count of 25 is conservative, we could have easily found more, but once we saturated our desire for Banded Hairsteaks, we moved on to look for other butterflies.

We traveled over the to the eastern side of the count circle and spent the afternoon at Finch Park in south Lexington. This park has a good powerline cut, a number of athletic fields, picnic areas, a pond, a river, grassy areas with clover, and a lot of wood edge.

Next year we will reverse the day, doing the more open Finch Park in the morning, and the more wooded Boone’s Cave Park in the afternoon – about the same time of year.

First number is Boone’s Cave Park, second is Finch Park:

Zebra Swallowtail 0,2
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 1,0
Spicebush Swallowtail 0,0 but Charlie found an egg on Spicebush
Cabbage White 2,0
Clouded Sulphur 3,0
Orange Sulphur 0,1
Banded Hairstreak 25,1 very high number
Easter Tailed-Blue 18,12
Spring/Summer Azure 3,1
Great Spangled Fritillary 4,2
Questionmark 2,2
Eastern Comma 5,0
Mourning Cloak 7,0
American Lady 1,6
Red Admiral 0,2
Red-Spotted Purple 3,0
Hackberry Emperor 9,0
Northern Pearly-eye 1,0
Creole Pearly-eye 3,0 new to county
Carolina Satyr 0,2
Little Wood Satyr 4,1
Silver-Spotted Skipper 4,1
Hoary Edge 2,4
Southern Cloudywing 1,0 new to county
Northern Cloudywing 0,1
Hayhurst’s Scallopwing 0,1 new to county
Common Sootywing 0,2
Clouded Skipper 0,1
Least Skipper 0,1
Fiery Skipper 1,0
Crossline Skipper 5,3
Sachem 1,2
Zabulon Skipper 3,0

32 species of adult butterflies, and one egg
157 total butterflies, and one egg

Luna Moth 2,0

* – Nancy Baldwin, Beth Brinson, Charlie Cameron, Kathy King, David McCloy, Jim Nottke, Gene Schepker, Lois Schneider, Sheila Zuccaro

Jim Nottke
Pfafftown, NC

Congaree National Park, SC, June 28, 2009


Following the Carolina Butterfly Symposium at Congaree National Park (Richland Co, SC) on Saturday June 27, a NABA butterfly count was conducted at the park on Sunday with the following results.

Congaree National Park NABA Count
Sundy June 28, 2009
Total:38 Species, 483 individuals,

25 participants

High heat and humidity seemed to oppress flying activity. Temp 96 degrees, humidity 70% or more. Full sun. Groups exploring along woodland trails saw great species diversity and higher numbers in general (21 species vs. 12 and 14 for open areas). Greatest numbers seen with “woodland species”- Zebra Swallowtail (58), Appalachin Browns (35), Carolina Satyrs (90). Surprising that NO Fiery Skippers, Sachems, Whirlabouts were seen. No white or sulphurs, except for on sulphur fly-by without id.

Pipevine- 1 caterpillar on Aristocholiacaea
Zebra Swallowtail-58 (Paw paw host plant in forest understory.)
Eastern Tiger-4
Palamedes Swallowtail-1
Gray Hairstreak-4
Eastern Tailed-Blue-25
Snout- 41
Pearl Crescent-14
Question Mark- 9
Comma- 3
American Lady-1
Red Admiral -2
Common Buckeye-27
Red-spotted Purple-22
Hackberry -15
Tawny Emperor- 13
Southern Pearly-Eye 5
Creole Pearly-Eye 1
Appalachian Brown-35
Gemmed Satyr 4
Carolina Satyr-90
Satyr sp. 3
Common Wood Nymph – 3
Silver-spotted Skipper-1
Juvenal’s Duskywing -1 (LATE observation, this species lapsing between broods at this time of year)
Horace’s Duskywing-25
Zarucco’s Duskywing-1
Duskywing sp. Unidentified-3
Common Sootywing- 1
Clouded Skipper-4
Southern Skipperling-1
Least Skipper -4
Dun Skipper 10
Zabulon Skipper-2
Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper-5
Silvery Checkerspot- 1 adult, 3 caterpillars

Thanks to participants- Theresa Thom, Theresa Yednock, Bret Hegler, Karen Stratman, David McCloy, Robert and Stephanie Eaddy, Jim Nottke, Nancy Baldwin, Robert and Susan Creed, Creed Branham, Karen Burton, Kimberly Meitzen, Marty and Dave Kastner, John Grego, Lois Schneider, Gene Schepker, Ken and Luann Bridle, Cyndel Hummel, Diane Curlee, James Seal, Hannah Frasier, Christina Hulslander

Christina S. Hulslander
Cayce, South Carolina 29033

Wake County, August 7, 2009


Here are the totals of the Wake County butterfly count, held on August 7. Three parties. Because I copied and pasted columns from John Connors’ Excel table, it looks a tad messy. But, we had 53 species, the second highest species number in the 15 years of the count (record is 54). (John isn’t subscribed to carolinaleps — hence my effort in pasting results here!). As he mentioned, we may have lost Checkered White from the circle, though there is a population a few miles to the south. And, the Clouded Sulphurs are about gone from the circle also, though they also are to our south. Hence, we are losing pastures/fields in west Raleigh. Pipevine Swallowtail was a somewhat bad miss, and the 2 American Ladies is extremely low. On the other hand, we had a few remarkable counts — such as 13 Lace-winged Roadside-Skippers and 162 Zabulon Skippers.

Black Sw. -Papilio polyxenes 4
E. Tiger Sw. – Papilio glaucus 56
Spicebush Sw.- Papilio troilus 13
Cabbage Wh. -Pieris rapae 12
Orange Sulp.- Colias eurytheme 16
Cloudless Sul- Phoebis sennae 7
Sleepy Orange- Eurema nicippe 11
Gray Hrstk – Strymon melinus 7
Red-bd Hrstk-Calycopis cecrops 4
E Tailed Blue- Everes comyntas 45
Summer Azure- C. neglecta 27
A Snout- Libytheana carinenta 6
Variegated Frit-Euptoieta claudia 44
Pearl Crescent-Phyciodes tharos 89
QMark- Polygonia interrogationis 15
E Comma- P. comma 7
A. Lady- Vanessa virginiensis 2
Painted Lady- V. cardui 1
Red Admiral- V. atalanta 4
C. Buckeye- Junonia coenia 31
Red-sp.Purple-Limenitis arthemis 6
Viceroy- L. archippus 2
Hackberry E.-Asterocampa celtis 21
Tawny Emperor- A. clyton 2
So.Pearly-eye- Enodia portlandia 1
No. Pearly-eye- E. anthedon 25
App.Brown-Satyrodes appalachia 2
Gemmed Satyr-Cyllopsis gemma 3
Car.Satyr-Hermeuptychia sosybius 296
C. Wood-Nymph-Cercyonis pegala 4
Monarch– Danaus plexippus 7
Silver-spot Sk.-Epargyreus clarus 72
Hoary Edge- Achalarus lyciades 7
SoCloudywing-Thorybes bathyllus 3
NoCloudywing- T. pylades 1
Horace’s Duskywing- E. horatius 23
Wild Indigo Duskyw- E. baptisiae 11
C.Checkered Skip-Pyrgus communis 10
C. Sootywing- Phollisora catullus 5
Swarthy Skip- Nastra Iherminier 11
Clouded Skip- Lerema accius 36
Least Skip-Ancycloxypha numitor 128
Fiery Skip-Hylephila phyleus 63
Crossline Skip- P. origenes 5
So.Broken-Dash-Wallengrenia otho 19
Little Glassywing-Pompeius verna 18
Sachem- Atalopedes campestris 112
Zabulon Skip- Poanes zabulon 162
Delaware Skip-Anatrytone logan 1
Dun Skip- Euphyes vestris 8
Lace-wingRdside-Amblyscirtes aesculapius 13
Eufala Skip- Lerodea eufala 3
Ocola Skip- Panoquina ocola 1

Harry LeGrand

Surry County, August 8, 2009


On August 8, twelve of us* undertook the 4th annual Surry County butterfly count, covering Horne Creek Historic Farm and several locations within both sections of Pilot Mountain State Park. The day started with light rain and very slow butterflying, but it eventually cleared and the butterflies emerged. While it had rained recently, few nectar sources were found – a number of butterflies were found on a small patch of Butterfly Pea in a roadside ditch. Missing this year were hairstreaks, Buckeyes, and several small skippers.

The Pecks Skipper is a new county record for Surry County. In the four years of the Surry count, we have added 11 new county records.

2 Pipevine Swallowtail
9 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
1 Spicebush Swallowtail
2 Cabbage White
3 Cloudless Sulphur
5 Orange Sulphur
1 Sleepy Orange
3 Harvester
25 Eastern Tailed Blue
7 Azure
4 Great Spangled Fritillary
6 Pearl Crescent
4 Questionmark
2 Eastern Comma
1 American Lady
1 Red Admiral
9 Red Spotted Purple
7 Northern Pearly Eye (a few other pearly-eyes in dark places were probably also Northerns)
2 Creole Pearly Eye
2 Gemmed Satyr
17 Carolina Satyr
5 Common Wood Nymph
6 Monarch (plus an egg and a 2nd instar caterpillar)
3 Silver Spotted Skipper
1 Southern Cloudywing
2 Swarthy Skipper
2 Least Skipper
1 Pecks Skipper
1 Crossline Skipper
3 Little Glassywing
1 Delaware Skipper
28 Zabulon Skipper
2 Lace Wing Roadside Skipper

33 species
157 butterflies

* John & Margaret Barlow, Beth Brinson, Charlie Cameron, Doug Demarest, Kathy King, David McCloy, Alejandro & Amanda Merchan, Jim Nottke, Gene Schepker, Lois Schneider

Jim Nottke
Pfafftown, NC

Forsyth County, August 9, 2009


On Sunday, August 9, eight of us* met at Bethabara Park in Winston-Salem, traveled on to Reynolda Gardens, an then later to my farm on a brutally hot day to pursue the 15th annual Forsyth County NABA butterfly count. The day dawned without a cloud in the sky and I did not see one until about 3pm, when it reached 93 degrees in the shade. After the rest of us quit, tough troopers Gene & Lois then went to the south side of the count circle and reported in quite a few more butterflies. We saw more skipper species and numbers than we did the previous day on the Surry count, but we did not find several "regulars"; American Lady, Common Checkered Skipper, Red Banded Hairstreak. No new county records, but we did find & photograph both Northern and Southern Broken Dash, which are uncommon here. It was damp enough this summer that a number of nectar sources were available; Butterflyweed, Common Milkweed, Cup Flower, Dogbane, Heal-all, Indian Paintbrush, Ironweed, Swamp Milkweed, & Wingstem.

1 Black Swallowtail
21 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
4 Spicebush Swallowtail
22 Cabbage White
9 Orange Sulphur
6 Cloudless Sulphur
14 Sleepy Orange
2 Gray Hairstreak
16 Eastern Tailed Blue
4 Azure
3 American Snout
2 Variegated Fritillary
7 Great Spangled Fritillary
1 Silvery Checkerspot
18 Pearl Crescent
3 Questionmark
2 Painted Lady
8 Common Buckeye
2 Red Spotted Purple
2 Hackberry Emperor
2 Northern Pearly Eye
4 Carolina Satyr
4 Common Wood Nymph
7 Monarch (also one egg on Common Milkweed)
30 Silver Spotted Skipper
4 Horace’s Duskywing
3 Zarucco Duskywing
3 Common Sootywing
2 Swarthy Skipper
2 Least Skipper
37 Fiery Skipper
12 Crossline Skipper
2 Southern Broken Dash
1 Northern Broken Dash
5 Little Glassywing
34 Sachem
3 Delaware Skipper
31 Zabulon Skipper
5 Dun Skipper

39 species
338 butterflies

* Dennis Burnette, Charlie Cameron, Lois Kaufman, David McCloy, Jim Nottke, Elizabeth Riggs, Gene Schepker, Lois Schneider.

Jim Nottke
Pfafftown, NC

Transylvania County, August 13, 2009


Hi all,
Six of us enjoyed wonderful weather on Thursday for the Transylvania Count. Here are our totals. It includes 40 species this year.

Lynn Smith
Camden, SC & Brevard, NC

Transylvania County Butterfly Count
August 13, 2009

6 Participants in two groups

Pipevine Swallowtail 42
Black Swallowtail 1
E. Tiger Swallowtail 58
Spicebush Swallowtail 9
Cabbage White 2
Clouded Sulphur 3
Orange Sulphur 7
Cloudless Sulphur 29
Gray Hairstreak 1
Red-banded Hairstreak 4
Eastern Tailed-blue 45
Summer Azure 40
Variegated Fritillary 1
Diana Fritillary 11
Great-spangled Fritillary 9
Aphrodite Fritillary 1
Meadow Fritillary 5
Silvery Checkerspot 2
Pearl Crescent 14
Question Mark 1
Eastern Comma 2
Common Buckeye 7
Red-spotted Purple 7
Northern Pearly-eye 4
Carolina Satyr 7
Common Wood-nymph 1
Monarch 2
Silver-spotted Skipper 129
S. Cloudywing 1
N. Cloudywing 4
Horace’s Duskywing 3
Clouded Skipper 2
Least Skipper 8
Fiery Skipper 4
Peck’s Skipper 10
Sachem 2
Zabulon Skipper 8
Dun Skippr 2
Dusted Skipper 1
Lace-winged Roadside Skipper 1

Durham County, August 16, 2009



Yesterday (8/16/2009) the 11th annual NABA Durham Butterfly Count was conducted under warm temps and partly sunny to mostly cloudy skies. We had a very successful day, tallying 58 butterfly species and 2741 individuals. We were above our eleven year average species diversity for this count (56) but well below the average number of individuals (3702) despite having near average number of party hours of participation (29; average is 30). We had 6 parties in the field and one garden watcher at the Museum of Life and Science. (BTW, if you live in Durham and watched and tallied butterflies in your garden yesterday, you may submit your results to me and I can include them in the official Count — let me know by Wednesday as I’ll be submitting the official results to NABA then!)

Great Finds:
Amazingly both Will Cook’s party and Randy Emmitt’s party found singleton Mourning Cloaks this year, a first for the Durham Count because that species is normally aestivating this time of year!

Highs and Lows:
There has been some talk on various butterfly list serves
that tiger swallowtail numbers are way down this year. The Durham tally was indeed well below average, however, we were not near our all-time low, which illustrates the point that butterfly numbers (like most insects) may vary naturally and dramatically from year to year and that folks generally needn’t worry when they casually observe "numbers are very low this year" of their favorite butterfly! For the record, while several species were below average, we had no "bad misses," and we only had all-time lows for two species: Black Swallowtail (tied the low of 9), and Ocola Skipper (tied the low of 1). We had only one all-time high, also a tie, for Zabulon Skippers at 148.

Many thanks to the participants: Brian Bockhahn, Will Cook, Randy Emmitt, Bonnie Forbes, Tom Krakauer, Harry LeGrand, Meg Millard, Jeff Pippen, Lynn Richardson, Richard Stickney, and Bud Webster. Hope you can join us next year!

Here is the cumulative tally:
8 Pipevine Swallowtail
1 Zebra Swallowtail
9 Black Swallowtail
65 E. Tiger Swallowtail
38 Spicebush Swallowtail
2 Cabbage White
1 Clouded Sulphur
18 Orange Sulphur
25 Cloudless Sulphur
107 Sleepy Orange
16 Gray Hairstreak
1 Red-banded Hairstreak
278 Eastern Tailed-Blue
39 Summer Azure
3 American Snout
50 Variegated Fritillary
8 Great Spangled Fritillary
5 Silvery Checkerspot
107 Pearl Crescent
2 Mourning Cloak
16 Question Mark
8 Eastern Comma
6 American Lady
1 Painted Lady
8 Red Admiral
229 Common Buckeye
58 Red-spotted Purple
18 Viceroy
16 Hackberry Emperor
9 Tawny Emperor
8 Northern Pearly-eye
11 Appalachian Brown
6 Gemmed Satyr
287 Carolina Satyr
8 Common Wood-Nymph
33 Monarch
159 Silver-spotted Skipper
14 Hoary Edge
2 Southern Cloudywing
21 Horace’s Duskywing
1 Zarucco Duskywing
4 Wild Indigo Duskywing
46 Com. Checkered-Skipper
4 Common Sootywing
22 Swarthy Skipper
80 Clouded Skipper
46 Least Skipper
88 Fiery Skipper
4 Tawny-edged Skipper
45 Crossline Skipper
57 Southern Broken-Dash
9 Northern Broken-Dash
42 Little Glassywing
412 Sachem
3 Delaware Skipper
148 Zabulon Skipper
2 Dion Skipper
29 Dun Skipper
1 Ocola Skipper

Good Butterflying,
Jeffrey S. Pippen

Southern Lake Norman, August 27, 2009



The Southern Lake Norman Count was held on August 27 under sunny, hot, and muggy conditions. These, combined with an increase in coverage, resulted in 51 species being seen; easily a record for this eighth SLN Count. Nine counters in five parties found:


Taylor Piephoff
Charlotte, NC

Southport/Fort Fisher, August 29, 2009


The Southport/Fort Fisher butterfly count was held on Saturday, August 29 under typical sweltering weather conditions. However, it was mostly cloudy in the morning, but mostly sunny in the afternoon. It was a bit breezy at times, but we avoided any rain. We had 4 observers in 3 parties – Will Cook covered New Hanover County, Taylor Piephoff and I covered the Southport/Caswell Beach area, and Jeff Pippen covered Boiling Spring Lakes area and places north of Southport. We topped last year (the first year) by three species, so it was OK, especially for skipper diversity.

ZEBRA SWALLOWTAIL 1 very rare along the coast, esp. in August
Black Swallowtail 5
Giant Swallowtail 1 EXACTLY where one was last year — same lantana bush at Caswell Beach!
E. Tiger Swallowtail 13
Spicebush Swallowtail 13
Palamedes Swallowtail 231
Cloudless Sulphur 460
Sleepy Orange 135
JUNIPER HAIRSTREAK 2 Fort Fisher area; known from there, but always a good find
Gray Hairstreak 16
Red-banded Hairstreak 2
E. Tailed-Blue 2
Gulf Fritillary 123
Variegated Fritillary 51
Phaon Crescent 55 all around Fort Fisher, as usual
Pearl Crescent 11
Painted Lady 1
Common Buckeye 63
Red-spotted Purple 4
Viceroy 10
Monarch 13
QUEEN 4 all at the tip of Ft. Fisher, their usual site (in good years)
Silver-spotted Skipper 54
Long-tailed Skipper 2
Horace’s Duskywing 21
Zarucco Duskywing 20 very good count for NC
Common Checkered-Skipper 1
Swarthy Skipper 1
Clouded Skipper 31
Least Skipper 10
Southern Skipperling 40 all in a single set of fields outside Southport; excellent NC count
Fiery Skipper 101
Whirlabout 11
Southern Broken-Dash 21
Sachem 6 all females; good coastal total
Delaware Skipper 3
Byssus Skipper 3
Broad-winged Skipper 2
Dion Skipper 3
Dun Skipper 6
Eufala Skipper 13
Twin-spot Skipper 3
Salt Marsh Skipper 55
Ocola Skipper 6

Total =
44 species

Note the total absence of Satyrs/Brown — not good habitat for most species, though Carolina Satyr and Common Wood-Nymph are certainly present, as must a pearly-eye or two. And, summer 2009 has been terrible in NC for Vanessa species, and also Polygonia species. Just a single Painted Lady among the bunch. And, we only got two sulphur species — Little Yellow is a tough miss. But, we had 22 species of skippers.

Harry LeGrand

Croatan National Forest, NC, August 30, 2009


The Croatan NF, NC, butterfly count was held yesterday (Sunday, August 30). We didn’t have particularly good coverage this year, though 5 of us — Jeff Pippen, Salman Abdulali, John Fussell, and Jack Fennell — joined me to work in two parties (usual number) to cover the circle. The weather was typical for the time and place — humid, warm to hot, and partly cloudy, but fortunately (for the first time in several years) there was no rain.

Interestingly, I learned today that a collector or two were in the circle the day before, hitting one of our hotspots, but thankfully it didn’t seem to affect any count results. What did affect results a bit was the wildfire (about 120 acres) in a part of the circle, plus the US Forest Service’s attempt to control it by burning 2400 acres, in part to stop the fire but also for fuel reduction. This was terrible timing, as it came a month before the count, not enough time to "green-up" and thus there were no flowers in the burned areas, and too large an extent buried that there was certainly damage done to some butterfly populations (i.e., no refugia). Burns are best done in winter or in spring, in much smaller blocks.

Here are the totals:

Black Swallowtail 2
E. Tiger Swallowtail 39
Spicebush Swallowtail 2
Palamedes Swallowtail 430 no shortage of them in NC, unlike farther southward in the range
Orange Sulphur 1
Cloudless Sulphur 310
Little Yellow 4
Sleepy Orange 46
Great Purple Hairstreak 1
Gray Hairstreak 11
Red-banded Hairstreak 27
E. Tailed-Blue 8
Summer Azure 5
Little Metalmark 2 low count; negatively affected by the fire; none in the burned areas
Pearl Crescent 38
Common Buckeye 70
Red-spotted Purple 5
Viceroy 2
Southern Pearly-eye 9
Carolina Satyr 54
Georgia Satyr 68
Common Wood-Nymph 19
Monarch 3
Silver-spotted Skipper 33
Southern Cloudywing 3
Horace’s Duskywing 3
Zarucco Duskywing 2
Swarthy Skipper 2
Clouded Skipper 40
Least Skipper 5
Fiery Skipper 13
Tawny-edged Skipper 3
Whirlabout 2
Southern Broken-Dash 6
LITTLE GLASSYWING 1 rare in the circle and near the coast; swampy road margin; NEW for Carteret!
Delaware Skipper 5
Byssus Skipper 61 YES, SIXTY-ONE!! Everywhere. To think we have completely missed it several times!
Dion Skipper 2
BERRY’S SKIPPER 8 We had 9 last year, but still excellent.
Dun Skipper 4
Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper 25
Carolina Roadside-Skipper 29
REVERSED ROADSIDE-SKIPPER 2 Always a good find; seen about every third year
Twin-spot Skipper 30
Ocola Skipper 2

Total = 45 species

Again, Vanessa and Polygonia species were absent, though they are always tough on this count. John Fussell took Salman to see and get photos of Dukes’ Skippers, but the sites are about a mile east of the circle. Can’t find them inside the circle — yet! It will be interesting to see if we can find Arogos Skipper next year. The general thought is that the fire may have wiped them out, the only site still known for them in NC. And, let’s hope the Little Metalmarks rebound.

Harry LeGrand

Buncombe, NC, September 3, 2009


On Sept. 3 Lynn Smith, Janie Owens, Gail Lankford, Simon Thompson, and Doug Johnston did an exploratory count. We hope to conduct a new NABA count of the county next year. Due to 2 key persons having to cancel their participation, we only went to 3 areas, all of which were in lower elevations – Sandy Mush Gamelands, Black Mountain Recreation Park, and NC Arboretum. The combined list of 40 species follows.

E Tiger Swallowtail 14
Pipevine Swallowtail 1
Black Swallowtail 4
Cabbage White 25
Clouded Sulphur 5
Orange Sulphur 3
Cloudless Sulphur 29
Little Yellow 6
Harvester 1
Gray Hairstreak 6
Red-banded Hairstreak 5
ETB 29
Summer Azure 4
Variegated Fritillary 16
Great Spangled Fritillary 31
Diana Fritillary 1
Meadow Fritillary 1
Pearl Crescent 51
Common Buckeye 4
American Lady 1
Red -spotted Purple 13
Monarch 8
Viceroy 2
Hackberry Emperor 3
Tawny Emperor 2
Northern Pearly-Eye 36
Appalachian Brown 2
Gemmed Satyr 2
Carolina Satyr 3
Common Wood-Nymph 1
Silver-spotted Skipper 15
Wild Indigo Duskywing 15
Zarucco Duskywing 2
Least Skipper 6
Crossline Skipper 1
Sachem 328
Zabulon Skipper 19
Fiery Skipper 3
Dun Skipper 3
Clouded Skipper 2

Falls Lake, NC, September 13, 2009


On Sunday ten of us had fun poking around at the Flat River Impoundment near Falls Lake (Durham Co., NC). Not much bird migration was happening (we saw White-eyed Vireo, Common Yellowthroat, Chestnut-sided and Magnolia Warblers, 50+ Great Egrets, a couple of Green Herons), but the insects were hopping! We amassed a list of 35 species of butterflies in the large open fields filled with the beautiful yellow flowers of Bidens (tickseed). Highlights included a few Great Spangled Fritillaries (I don’t think I’ve seen them at this spot before), Dion Skippers (rarish wetlands species that feeds on Carex), and large numbers of Hackberry Emperors, several of which landed on sweaty field trippers. We saw a few poor emaciated Monarch caterpillars gnawing on ripening milkweed seed pods (all the leaves had been consumed).

The Odonates were pretty spectacular, too, highlighted by Dusky Dancers, a few Dragonhunters (large, powerful, voracious predators), and a rare Russet-tipped Clubtail.

One of the plant highlights was a large mat of Azolla and Lemna covering a small subimpoundment. Carl was excited to find his first ever fertile Azolla cf. caroliniana, but oddly enough, all the Azollas we collected male.

Species lists below.

Butterflies (35 species) – 9/13/2009 Durham Co., NC

5 Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
27 Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
15 Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)
2 Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
1 Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)
27 Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas)
1 Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta)
3 Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
3 Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
10 Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
4 Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)
1 Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)
3 American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
2 Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
2 Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
14 Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
9 Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
40 Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) – near record count
26 Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)
3 Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton)
2 Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius)
1 Monarch (Danaus plexippus) + 3 caterpillars
4 Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
2 Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)
4 Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)
13 Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)
3 Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor)
2 Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
1 Crossline Skipper (Polites origenes)
1 Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho)
12 Sachem (Atalopedes campestris)
1 Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon)
2 Dion Skipper (Euphyes dion)
2 Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris)
1 Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Odonates (list by Carl Rothfels)

Plathemis lydia – Common Whitetail. Common along path.
Erythemis simplicicollis – Eastern Pondhawk. Common along path.
Pachydiplax longipenis – Blue Dasher. Locally common in some of the small ponds.
Libellula pulchella – Twelve-spotted Skimmer. Approx. 10 seen in one of the pond areas.
Perithemis tenera – Eastern Amberwing. Locally common in some of the small ponds.
Libellula cf incesta – Slaty Skimmer. Locally common in some of the small ponds.
Libellula vibrans – Great Blue Skimmer. One seen.
Tramea lacerata – Black Saddlebags. One seen.
Anax junius – Common Green Darner. Three seen.
Hagenius brevistylus – Dragonhunter. Approx. three see over the creek.
One male netted.
Dromogomphus spinosus – Black-shouldered Spinyleg. One or two seen.
Stylurus plagiatus – Russet-tipped Clubtail. One seen.
Argia translata – Dusky Dancer. Approx. eight seen over the creek.
Argia moesta – Powdered Dancer. One seen.
Ischnura posita – Fragile Forktail. One seen.

Will Cook – Durham, NC

Tillman Sand Ridge / Savannah NWR, October 3, 2009


Hi All,

The Ogeechee Audubon Society and the Carolina Butterfly Society held a joint field trip Saturday, 3 October 2009 to theTillman Sand Ridge Heritage Preserve and the Savannah NWR, Jasper Co., SC. Six people participated in the trip which lasted from 0930AM-2:30PM.  The weather was excellent. Savannah NWR species only=X.  Here is our list with  approximate numbers.

Dark swallowtail sp.-1
Cabbage White-1
Cloudless Sulfur-40+
Little Yellow-10
Sleepy Orange-6
Red-banded Hairstreak-2
Gray Hairstreak-2 X
Eastern Tailed-Blue-1
Gulf Fritillary-20+
Zebra Helliconian-1
Variegated Fritillary-10
Question Mark-2
Red Admiral-1
Common Buckeye-6
Pearl Crescent-20
Red-spotted Purple-2
Viceroy-2 X
Hackberry Emperor-1 X
Southern Pearly-Eye-1
Creole Peary-Eye-1
Carolina Satyr-15
Long-tailed Skipper-5
Tropical Checkered-Skipper- 10
Clouded Skipper-8
Least Skipper-5 X
Southern Skipperling-3
Southern Broken-Dash-1
Broad-winged Skipper- 4 X
Ocola Skipper-2


Dennis M. Forsythe PhD
Charleston, SC

Congaree National Park, SC, October 4, 2009


Wow….fall butterfly counts are so much more preferable to "stinking-hot" summer butterfly counts here in the Midlands of South Carolina. Lots more butterflies and much more tolerable weather!

The Congaree National Park (Richland Co, SC and Calhoun Co, SC) fall butterfly count was held on Sunday October 4 from 10:00 a.m until 5:00 p.m. (This count was rescheduled from 9/19 due to weather.) Conditions were overcast in a.m and approximately 70 degrees, warming to 79 in afternoon with mostly sunny conditions in p.m.

Thank you to observers- Will Jeffries, Austin Harris, Marty and Dave Kastner, Ellen Blundy, Louise Womble, Ed Vincent, Dennis Forsythe, John Grego, Christina Hulslander.

The first number reflects butterflies observed in Richland County, SC. The second number is butterflies observed by Dennis Forsythe in Calhoun Co,SC. Both counties are within the 15 mile NABA-count(North American Butterfly Association) circle for Congaree National Park.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail- 1,0
Orange Sulphur- 3,0
Checkered White- 1,2
Cloudless Sulfur-38,25
Little Yellow-1,3
Sleepy Orange-8,24
Great Purple Hairstreak 1, 0
Gray Hairstreak 2, 0
Red-banded Hairstreak 2, 0
Eastern Tailed Blue 5, 0
American Snout-2, 1
Gulf Fritillary-30, 40 ( Also, 4 caterpillars found on Passionvine)
Variegated Fritillary-18, 3
American Lady-8,4
Painted Lady-1,1
Vanessa species unidentified 2, 0
Common Buckeye-14, 3
Buckeye caterpillar- 1
"Seminole" Texan Crescent-2, 1
Pearl Crescent-527+, 9(probably several dozen more than 527 we counted in Richland Co)
Red-spotted Purple-8, 5
Viceroy-6, 1 (One female observed laying eggs on willow trees along Congaree River)
Southern Pearly-eye-1, 1 very worn
Creole Pearly-eye- 1, 1
Appalachian Brown- 1, 0
Gemmed Satyr-1, 1
Carolina Satyr-114, 10
Silver-spotted Skipper-1, 1
Long-tailed Skipper-2, 1
Horace’s Duskywing 4, 0
Common/White Checkered-Skipper- 23, 30
Clouded Skipper-107, 13
Swarthy Skipper 1, 0
Least Skipper 1, 0
Fiery Skipper-14, 5
Whirlabout-1, 2
Zabulon Skipper- 2, 0
Dun Skipper-47, 1
Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper-3, 1
Little Glassywing 1,0
Ocola Skipper 1, 0
(Unidentified orange spiked caterpillar freshly molted on Passionvine stem.)

39 species!
1194 individuals seen!

Thanks to all who participated in this count!

Christina Hulslander
Cayce, South Carolina

Brookgreen Gardens, SC, October 12, 2009


Yesterday I led a butterfly walk through the flower gardens at Brookgreen Gardens, Georgetown Co., SC from 10-12 in excellent weather. We had the following:

Black Swallowtail-2
Palamedes Swallowtail-4
Cloudless Sulfur-15+
Gulf Fritillary-10
Common Buckeye-1
Red-spotted Purple-1
Long-tailed Skipper-10
Clouded Skipper-10
Fiery Skipper-8
Broad-winged Skipper-1
Ocola Skipper-2

On the way back to Charleston we stopped in a power right-of-way in Long-leaf Pine Woods near Acadia Plantation were there was a lot of Carphephous sp. and Blazing Star. We had:

Palamedes Swallowtail-2
Cloudless Sulfur-2
Little Yellow-5
Gray Hairstreak-1 very worn
Common Buckeye-5
Fiery Skipper-2
Eufala Skipper-1



Dennis M. Forsythe PhD
Charleston, SC