THE VERMONT ENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY arrived at 10:00 a.m. for their ANNUAL BUTTERFLY COUNT. As usual, the event was totally disorganized. I kicked things off with a welcome and introductions. Then I started trying to move them across the road, into the meadow, and up toward the pond. A few family groups followed, but everyone else was standing around chatting. Jim Osborn was around with his net and a big plastic jar for holding whatever he could catch for observation. The problem was, there weren’t many butterflies. The sun was shining, but it was still a bit cool, and  all the rain we’ve been having has encouraged tall grasses and weeds but not many wildflowers. I led the families up to Bob’s Pond, where they could wander around and look for frog tadpoles and salamanders. Eventually some of the good insect people found their way up there too, and I decided to head down to where there used to be a lot of MILKWEED to see if I could find anything big and visible for folks to look at. NO MILKWEED, NO BUTTERFLIES, so I gave up and went home. My BUTTERFLY LIST was short, to say the least: VICEROY, EUROPEAN SKIPPER, FRITILLARY sp., NORTHERN PEARL CRESCENT, a CABBAGE WHITE (I think), a WOOD SATYR sp., and an EASTERN COMMA. I hope the group got a better list, but I’m not sure they did.

LATER: Jim Osborn and I hiked over to the mystery nest Bob and I had noticed on our 4th of July walk. It’s higher up in the tree than any of the four goshawk nests. The WHITE PINE it’s in is tall but not as big around as the ones the goshawks chose. The nest looked smaller than a goshawk nest and has lots of sticks sticking out. Jim decided it was probably a CROW’S NEST.

LATER STILL: When I went up to Williston to get groceries, I saw some MILKWEED in full bloom. So I guess our old milkweeds have just gotten crowded out now that Bob’s not managing the meadow for them anymore. He used to mow until he saw the MILKWEEDS STARTING UP. Then he quit mowing for the rest of the season so the MILKWEEDS could go through their annual cycle and disperse their seeds. It was labor intensive to mow the whole meadow, but the effort was rewarded by the MILKWEEDS and the BUTTERFLIES they attracted.

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