Saturday, July 29 was a classic summer day in Virginia. It was sunny, humid and warm (at least 85 degrees), which was perfect butterfly weather. The Willowsford Conservancy wetlands were in glorious bloom: Monarda, Joe Pye, Mallow, Ironweed, to name just a few — a perfect butterfly buffet.
Michael Myers and Anne Ellis led a group of 23 butterfly enthusiasts, who identified 27 butterflies in 17 species. The Sleepy Orange is a highlight. Its host plant, Senna, is now in bloom. We also spotted a Variegated Fritillary. We hope to see more of them on the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s Annual Butterfly Count next Saturday. In addition, we found Spicebush Swallowtails, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Cabbage Whites, Clouded Sulphurs, Orange Sulphurs, Eastern Tailed Blues, Silvery Checkerspots, Pearl Crescents, Silver-spotted Skippers, Horace’s Duskywings, Sachems and Least, Peck’s and Zabulon Skippers. And finally, three Monarchs. No count is complete without them.