Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Big Butterfly Count!

July 17th to August 9th is The Big Butterfly Count in the UK!  Sign up at this link and record your findings as a citizen scientist: The Big Butterfly Count.  It only takes 15 minutes, making it an ideal "15 Minute Field Trip™".  Simply go outside, preferably on a sunny day, and identify and count butterflies.  This guide will help you, as well as the Bug Guide and Peterson Field Guides.  For North America, go to the North American Butterfly Association website.  They are especially looking for counts on July 4th if you're in the U.S.  Remember, butterflies are nectarivores, so look in areas with plenty of flowers.  Some great butterfly attractors include bee balm, black-eyed susans, butterfly bush, butterfly weed, coneflower, lavender, liatris, milkweed, oregano, phlox, and yarrow.  Group plants in clusters for best success.  Butterflies are especially found of red, orange, and yellow flowers with umbrels.  Look up a particular favorite's host plant.  For instance, Monarchs only lay eggs on milkweed.  Here are six ways you can save the Monarchs.  Swallowtails lay eggs on members of the carrot family: carrot, dill, fennel, parsnip, and Queen Anne's lace.  All butterflies will benefit from a puddling, or drinking area. Fill a shallow dish with sands an pebbles and keep wet.  Butterflies will drink from it and males will get minerals from the pebbles to aid their fertility.

Frittilary on coneflower.

Monarch adult and caterpillars on milkweed.

Painted lady on oregano.

Eastern pine elfin hairstreak????

Painted lady on allium.

All photos © Melissa Guillet

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