Rutland County Audubon undertook its seventeenth annual “July 4” West Rutland Butterfly Count on Saturday July 3. The North American Butterfly Association counts, now in their thirty-sixth year, are organized along the lines of the annual Christmas Bird Counts within a circle of 15 miles diameter that once designated, remains constant.  The first West Rutland count was organized by Monica and Alan Gregory in 1994.

Ten participants took to the field at 9:00 a.m. on a clear but humid morning with a temperature reading of 68° F.  By the time the day was over for the last participant about 3:30 p.m., the temperature was hovering around 87° F. 

The 35 species tallied was in fact equal to the average over the past 16 years while the individual tally was some 116 short of the average.  Looking over the species diversity and numbers, the highs and the lows over the past 16 years, it would appear to this observer that there is neither constancy nor predictability although the counts were undertaken in the same areas and almost the same calendar date.  One variable seems to be the maturity and the passage of the season and that of the plant growth.

It was nice to record two Dion Skippers, among “the sweet sixteen” in Vermont, an image of one having already been posted by Terri Armata.

Here is the list: [For the most part we did not attempt to differentiate between Northern Crescent and Pearl Crescent, hence Crescent sp.]

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (1), Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (1), Tiger Swallowtail sp. (2), Cabbage White (33), Clouded Sulphur (101), Bronze Copper (2), Coral Hairstreak (1), Acadian Hairstreak (1), Eastern Tailed-Blue (26), Great Spangled Fritillary (27), Aphrodite Fritillary (14), Atlantis Fritillary (4), Meadow Fritillary (172), Crescent sp. (34), Baltimore Checkerspot (3), Question Mark (2), Eastern Comma (2), Painted Lady (1), Red Admiral (6), White Admiral (2), Viceroy (2), Eyed Brown (13), Common Ringlet (5), Common Wood Nymph (12), Monarch (23), Least Skipper (5), European Skipper (60), Indian Skipper (1), Peck’s Skipper (4), Tawny-edged Skipper (1), Long Dash (3), Northern Broken-Dash (7), Little Glassywing (23), Dun Skipper (4), Dion Skipper (2).  Total individuals, (600).  Total species, (35).

Roy Pilcher
The Gables at East Mountain, Rutland, Vermont

Speaking the same language.