We had a great time participating in the annual North American Butterfly Association count at the White House Farm recently! This year marked our 7th year participating and the 19th year the count has been held in the Shenandoah Valley.
On one designated day each year, volunteers fan out across various locations and survey the variety and number of species seen. These numbers indicate the health and diversity of butterfly populations – important information to record as butterflies are pollinators for many plants.
White House Farm owner, Scott C. Plein, is leaving swaths of un-mowed edges next to farm fields, allowing the wildflowers to bloom. These wild edges provide host plants and nectar plus habitat for many species of Lepidoptera.
This year, we counted 20 different species and 119 individuals. The 52-acre riparian buffer is developing into quite a rich habitat as well, with native warm season grasses and a mixture of wildflowers and native shrubs.
Here is a list of what we saw, including the host plants for each species of butterfly listed.