We had a great day conducting the 10th annual North American Butterfly Association butterfly count at the White House Farm. Thank you volunteers! Above are a few of the species we counted. The riparian area is continuing to prove a wonderful area of native plants which serve as hosts to numerous species of lepidoptera. The wildflowers provide valuable nectar sources for the adult butterflies, including rudbeckia, thistles, sweet white clover, milkweed, monarda and many others.
We participate in the Shenandoah Valley count which includes the middle section of Page County and the Shenandoah National Park. Teams fan out and visit meadows, back yards, gardens and other areas which provide host areas and nectar sources. For the 2018 count, an impressive 4,198 individual butterflies were counted including 48 species.
There was a record high count for monarchs this year with a total of 246 seen – great news! – keep growing and protecting milkweed plants! Another top count was for the silvery checkerspot (149 total) which we counted several at the White House Farm. Their host is Black-eyed Susan and wingstem, both of which grow prolifically in the riparian area. The White House Farm accounted for the two (and only) juniper hairstreaks (aka olive hairstreak) which are stunning small green butterflies which commonly nectar on Queen Anne’s lace and uses juniper trees as their host.
The many butterflies and moths thank farm owner Scott C. Plein for providing habitat and food for them by planting and protecting the riparian buffer and installing native plants in the landscape!