Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Silver Bluff Butterfly Count

On Saturday, September 22, Silver Bluff Audubon celebrated the last day of summer by hosting a butterfly count. Several families came out to chase, net, and identify butterflies (and assorted dragonflies) on a beautiful, though eventually very warm, day. Needless to say, quite a few birds (including National Audubon’s symbol, the Great Egret) were seen, along with numerous other critters such as a black racer snake, “rainbow” beetles, and lots of large garden spiders.

The butterfly count at Silver Bluff, sanctioned by the North American Butterfly Association, was part of a 15-mile diameter count circle that also included Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, Georgia. While final results from the entire count circle have not been compiled, the count at Silver Bluff produced 21 species. Not bad for a group that was easily distracted by all the other wildlife sightings!

A butterfly garden located near the visitor center played host to species such as Palamedes Swallowtail (Pterourus palamedes) [see image on Blue Fortune Agastache] and Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes), Gulf Fritillaries (Agraulis vanillae incarnata), and Silver-spotted Skippers (Hesperia comma). The garden was planted in June of this year by kids attending the weeklong summer camp at Silver Bluff and is maintained by a faithful volunteer, Beth Smith. Plans are in place to enlarge the garden for next year’s crop of butterflies.

Text and images by Paul Koehler

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