Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our Butterfly Yard List Grows By Two


I have lived here 12 years and have been keeping a butterfly list since I moved in. The list had been until last year stuck at 75 species for a few years. Last summer we were taking a break on the deck and saw a Gulf Fritillary on the butterfly bush, butterfly 76. A few weeks ago Appalachian Brown was seen in the neighbors yard then the next day I took photos of it at our compost bin. The next day a Tawny-edged Skipper showed up so boom bang we are at 78 species. The only reasonable butterfly left is Zebra Swallowtail.

Lets think about this number 78 species, it is big but you have to keep in mind that for 12 years I have taken surveys of the garden and driveway. And I know the butterflies I see from doing it so long. I'd think most of you that live in a good wildlife habitat could reach a number close to this or even higher. Down in south Texas this number could be a list of butterflies seen in one month!

Surveying butterflies are just are not done very often in many parts of the country. Many places have little or no public places to survey and no locals with the experience to perform a comprehensive survey. Here in North Carolina we cover it fairly well, our Orange County yard has seen more species than about 60 of the 100 counties in North Carolina. I'm not saying we have more species than those 60 or so counties, they just don't get surveyed and recorded. Orange County has 94 species on its list, 17 other counties have seen more species than we have.

The Appalachian Brown on our compost bin

Here is our yard list

1 Pipevine Swallowtail
2 Black Swallowtail
3 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
4 Spicebush Swallowtail
5 Cabbage White
6 Falcate Orangetip
7 Clouded Sulphur
8 Orange Sulphur
9 Cloudless Sulphur
10 Little Yellow
11 Sleepy Orange
12 Great Purple Hairstreak
13 Coral Hairstreak
14 Banded Hairstreak
15 Henry's Elfin
16 Eastern Pine Elfin
17 Olive Hairstreak
18 White M Hairstreak
19 Gray Hairstreak
20 Red-banded Hairstreak
21 Eastern Tailed-Blue
22 Spring Azure
23 Summer Azure
24 American Snout
25 Gulf Fritillary "stray in 2008"
26 Zebra Longwing "stray in 1997"
27 Variegated Fritillary
28 Great Spangled Fritillary
29 Silvery Checkerspot
30 Pearl Crescent
31 Question Mark
32 Eastern Comma
33 Mourning Cloak
34 American Lady
35 Painted Lady
36 Red Admiral
37 Common Buckeye
38 Red-spotted Purple
39 Viceroy
40 Hackberry Emperor
41 Tawny Emperor
42 Northern Pearly-eye
43 Appalachian Brown new in 2009
44 Gemmed Satyr
45 Carolina Satyr
46 Little Wood-Satyr
47 Common Wood-Nymph
48 Monarch
49 Silver-spotted Skipper
50 Long-tailed Skipper "strays in"
51 Hoary Edge
52 Southern Cloudywing
53 Northern Cloudywing
54 Hayhurst's Scallopwing
55 Sleepy Duskywing
56 Juvenal's Duskywing
57 Horace's Duskywing
58 Zarrucco Duskywing
59 Wild Indigo Duskywing
60 Common Checkered Skipper
61 Common Sootywing
62 Swarthy Skipper
63 Clouded Skipper
64 Least Skipper
65 Fiery Skipper
66 Tawny-edged Skipper
67 Crossline Skipper
68 Southern Broken Dash
69 Northern Broken Dash
70 Little Glassywing
71 Sachem
72 Delaware Skipper
73 Zabulon Skipper
74 Dun Skipper
75 Pepper and Salt Skipper
76 Common Roadside-Skipper
77 Eufala Skipper
78 Ocola Skipper

My next posting will cover two new species of odonates I recently found the Eastern Ringtail dragonfly and the Burgandy Bluet damselfly. I also finally took photos of the Fawn Darner.


Carol said...

Wow! That is quite a list!... Beautiful shot of the A. Brown. Look forward to scrolling thru your posts. Thanks for visiting Flower Hill Randy. I have a couple of mystery butterflies and one moth... I will have to send you a link when I find them... I would guess you might know their names. Carol

wiseacre said...

With only 3 'strays' it must be a thrill to find the unexpected.

It's a bit early for me and I still have sleep in my eyes. For a second it looked like you finally took photos of a Dawn Farter.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

78? Amazing!

Dave@The Home Garden said...

Keep a list like that is very neat. Congrats on finding your new ones!

Heather said...

Good morning, Randy! I think it is wonderful that you catalog the beautiful species you see in your yard and garden. So nice to know what actually is there and to be able to share that info is invaluable. Keep at it, who knows..... maybe someone in Idaho will pick up the tradition.

Janet said...

I marvel at your ability to ID that many butterflies- especially as they flutter and flit about. Some differences are so subtle, great work Randy!

sweet bay said...

Gorgeous shot of the Appalachian Brown. I have a bird life list but have not recorded butterflies (I need to order the book you recommended), just marvelled at their beauty. It would be very interesting to make such a list!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

That list is quite impressive! This year has been a bust for butterfly activity here in Indiana, even though I plant things specifically to attract them. I think it must be the crazy weather!

Rosey Pollen said...

That is some list!
What an accomplishment to keep a record of all those sweet butterflies in your area.
I was wondering if you could ID a caterpillar for me? I put it on my blog today, Monday aug 31, and I know you are the guy to Id these caterpillars, if you know butterflies? Thanks a bunch!

Warren Baker said...

I cant believe you've got so many species in your yard! I dont think there are that many species in the whole of the uk!

Ali Iyoob said...

Wow, 10 of those would be lifers. Do you get Common Roadside, Pepper and Salt Skipper, and the Elfins regularly?

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

How exciting. I think I've seen about 4 different types in our yard, and I plant lots of butterfly attracting plants. You are so lucky to have seen such a huge variety.

Kanak Hagjer said...

That's an impressive list! Always look forward to your butterfly posts. The Appalachian Brown reminds me of one of the brown butterflies here.

Meems said...

Very nice photo of the brown.

It's great that you keep a list, Randy. It makes me think I should be a little more diligent about doing the same thing. We have so many here and most of them stay yearround. Even with that fact I can't imagine that we have 78 kinds... that's a lot of different species.

Question: Is there a resource you know of that gives the information for each state/county like you referenced in this post...Orange County has 94 species on its list, 17 other counties have seen more species than we have.
Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

Meems said...

I also meant to say the Zebra Swallowtail is one of my favorites. I photographed one north of here in the woods last year. Until last week I'd never seen one in my neighborhood. It wasn't in my yard but in a neighbor's. I hope I see one here before the summer is over. They are so beautiful and their flight is just fascinating.

Here's hoping you see one, too.
Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

Anonymous said...

Wow, thats a heck of a list Randy,

Shady Gardener said...

I'm very impressed. Is your Appalachian Brown a Satyr?

Gail said...

What a great idea to keep a butterfly list...I think I might try to do that!

The butterflies have been scarce this year...have you noticed a change? gail

wiseacre said...

Thanks for stopping by and correcting my miss-identification of the Lady and the Sulfur.

Can't believe my brain tricked me with the Painted Lady. I knew it was American but got distracted and somehow switched them when I went to write the post. I'd kick myself in the butt but my foot is still stuck in my mouth :)

Sue said...

What a lot of butterflies you have seen in your area! Awesome! The Appalachian Brown is quite handsome.

Blossom said...

I have quite a few of these flying guys buzzing around my garden but I never have time to learn the names ...
And now looking at your list, I know I'll never find the time.