The 2007 Butterfly Count was another success with 40 people participating, compared to 37 last year. This is the highest number of participants we have had in our 11 years of holding this count and it allowed us to expand to 6 teams so we could cover more territory. August 6, 2007 proved to be a hot one with temperatures well into the 90s and humidity to match. While the teams all began at 9:00am, many of us were wilted by early afternoon and called it a day although a couple of teams were able to keep at it until about 4:00pm. Adding up the hours spent by each team, we counted for 26 ¼ hours.
In all, we identified 2596 individual butterflies covering a total of 46 species. These numbers are just slightly higher than last year when we had 2452 individual butterflies and 47 species. However, this a sharp decline from 2005 when we identified over 5,000 individual butterflies. We expect this decline in populations is due to the drought. Count teams consistently reported that there were fewer nectar plants and host plants and the plants that they did see seemed stunted in their growth.
Notable species this year were the increase in Spicebush Swallowtails at 259 sightings versus 77 last year. Notable declines include the Monarch, for which we had 171 sightings last year and only 55 this year, and Meadow Fritillary, for which we had 112 last year and only 9 this year.
Many thanks to all who participated on this very hot day: Tom Raque, Bruni Haydl, Betty Hedges, Bob Lyon, Mimi Westervelt, Karen Lowe, Tina Ojala. Linda Espejo, Nicole Hamilton, Karen Strick, Eric and Carol Scorlock and their four kids (Lindsey, Ashley, Brian and Josh), Bill Cour, Elizabeth Evans, Mary Ann Good, Joe Coleman, Dee Leggett, Sheri Trossman and her two sons, Diane Sylvester, Kathy Ruckman and her son David, Jackie Phillips, Bonnie Arnold, Doug and Allison Hubbard and their son Luke, Helen Van Ryzin, Jon Little, Eric Raun, Jeff Pfoutz, Barbara McKee, Helen DeGroot, Andy Rabin and Brian Magurn.