Over sixty people came out for our Butterfly Identification Class and Field Session this past Saturday. After checking in and getting copies of our newest publication, the Field Guide to the Butterflies of Loudoun County, we got right into the class session. Photos are on our facebook page.
We started with some discussion around butterfly lifecycle and habitat preferences as the foundation and then went right into the different identification tips for 56 of the 85 species seen here in Loudoun.
After a quick break for lunch, we broke into groups for the field session and explored the wild and weedy areas around Ida Lee Park as well as the master gardener’s garden.
This was the chance to test our skills with butterfly identification — especially on those skippers — and we definitely got our chance as the skippers were skipping all around!
In all, the groups saw approximately 25 different species and were able to get great looks at Sachem skippers in particular as they nectared on thistle. Sachems were certainly the highest number and we saw both males and females for a nice comparison.
Here is a list of the butterflies seen: Black Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Clouded Sulphur, Orange Sulphur, Gray Hairstreak, Eastern-tailed Blue, Summer Azure, Variegated Fritillary, Silvery Checkerspot, Pearl Crescent, American Lady. Common Buckeye, Red-spotted Purple, Common Wood Nymph, Monarch, possible Hackberry Emperor, Silver-spotted Skipper, Least Skipper, Fiery Skipper, Peck’s Skipper, Tawny-edged Skipper, Crossline Skipper, Little Glassywing, Sachem.
If you’re interested in learning more about butterflies, you can still sign up for our Annual Butterfly Count. More details about the butterfly count can be found here.