2015 Athens, OH Butterfly Count
The fourth annual Athens County,OH happened yesterday, July 18. This year's count was 10-14 days behind previous counts. Traditionally we do the count the Saturday after 4th of July. The 4th of July being on a Saturday this year sort of messed things up. In addition, not realizing the 4th was on a Saturday, I had scheduled myself for something else at work on July 11, hence the reason for the late date of the 18th.
The later date was reflected in the bugs we saw, or didn't see. We had the fewest number of species of any year thus far (although oddly the highest number of individual butterflies). We missed all hairstreaks, only the second time we've been shut out on hairstreaks, plus we missed the Northern Metalmark at Trimble Community Forest. This year's count was also very light on grass skippers. I'm not sure if that was a result of the later timing or just a poor year for grass skippers.
We had some definite victories as well however. We added two new species to the count list, Gemmed Satyr and Common Roadside Skipper. We also set a new record for the number of individuals of a single species with 191 Pearl Crescents. The previous single species best had been 84 Pearl Crescents in 2012.
This year we visited Trimble Community Forest in the morning and The Ridges in the afternoon. Our lunch break was at the Corner Pizza and Deli in Jacksonville, OH, about halfway between Glouster and The Plains! The pizza was excellent by the way! Everybody was so tired after The Ridges we decided to skip the West State Street garden site which probably costed us a few additional species. In addition, the outside temperature of 88 degrees contributed to chasing us into our air conditioned cars.
For the morning session we had a total seven counters, five in the afternoon. Count leader Chris Kline (me!) is the only veteran of all four years of the count. Mary Ann Hopple and Andrew Dooms joined the count for the third straight year, Kris Kline for her second straight year, and Asa Kline, April Kline, and Tim Prange joined the count for the first time.
Here is the species count for 2015:
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (6), Spicebush Swallowtail (6), Summer Azure (3), Eastern Tailed-blue (30), Cabbage White (2), Clouded Sulphur (9), Orange Sulphur (9), Question Mark (2), Eastern Comma (1), Red Admiral (4), Tawny Emperor (2), Monarch (2), Viceroy (1), Red-spotted Purple (7), Great Spangled Fritillary (7), Meadow Fritillary (1), Carolina Satyr (1), Little Wood Satyr (4), Gemmed Satyr (2), Common Wood Nymph (7), Pearl Crescent (191), Silver Spotted Skipper (10), Horace's Duskywing (1), Wild Indigo Duskywing (1), Northern Broken Dash (2), Least Skipper (7) and Common Roadside Skipper (2). 27 species, 319 individuals.
Some photos from the day. I think my wife took some photos of the counters (rather than the countees!) with her phone that I will try to add to the site as well.