Howard County Bird Club

A Chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society (MOS)

Howard County Butterfly News

by Linda Hunt


Butterfly Walk

Howard County Dragonfly Count

Saturday, August 5 ALL DAY

Register with leader: June Tveekrem. DETAILS LATER.

Bioblitz at Mount Pleasant

Saturday, August 12 ALL DAY


Butterfly Walk

Saturday, August 19 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Alpha Ridge Park

Register with leader: Linda Hunt. Co-leader: Woody Merkle. Cancelled if raining. Paved and grass paths. Facilities available.

Howard County Butterfly Count

Saturday, August 26 11:00 am – 2:00 pm Western Regional Park

Register with leader: Sue Muller. Paved paths. Facilities available.

Dick Smith Memorial Butterfly Walk

Sunday, September 3 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Elkhorn Gardens and Meadow

Register with leader: Linda Hunt. Cancelled if raining. Grass paths. Primitive facilities available.

July Butterflies in Howard County

Welcome to true Maryland summer everyone! Scorching and humid one day and pouring the next.

But the weather people predict sun for this weekend. And the HOT SPOT this weekend for butterflies is Robinson Nature Center.

Two gorgeous southern migrants are visiting: Cloudless Sulphur and Sleepy Orange. They like the Maryland Senna and the PROFUSION of nectar flowers in the Native Garden near the water feature in front of the nature center building. It is worth the $5.00 daily admission fee for the opportunity to see these butterflies. Also a great spot to practice your photography skills and then escape to the wonderful A/C inside the nature center. I will be there Sunday around 11:00 am taking pictures and will help anyone identify sulphurs. (Addenda: LepLog reports a sighting of another migrant, American Snout, at Port Deposit.)

Bonnie Ott (of course!) has already has seen the Sleepy Orange at our other HOT SPOT, Mt. Pleasant/Howard County Conservancy (June 30). Cloudless Sulphur has also been seen there in previous years. You may also spot both species at the Centennial Park butterfly/pollinator meadow and around the county and in your gardens (if you have planted Maryland Senna (host plant) or have bright red tubular flowers for the Cloudless Sulphur (i.e., cardinal flower - Lobelia cardinalis or scarlet/crimson beebalm/bergamot Monarda didyma). .

Other butterfly species and numbers continue to disappoint; sparse numbers of our usual butterflies. If you are out and about braving the heat and humidity, please send in your reports for the survey. A lack of species and numbers is as important as abundance of both. This is a five year survey and variations from year to year are important, especially if there is a perceivable trend.

2017 Howard County Butterfly Survey

We still welcome more participants for the 2017 Howard County Butterfly Survey that "officially" starts in April (even though we've been counting the late February and March sightings). Everyone can participate by using the on-line "Incidental" survey form

Here are 3 ways to participate:

  • <>Send in periodic observations when you are out bird watching, walking your dog, visiting a park, or just working in your yard or garden. Then enter how many you saw of each species on the on-line form. If you don't know the species, try to get a photo (cell phone, camera or whatever device you have is OK) and send it to me for identification.
  • <>We are still looking for more people who would be willing to count butterflies at a single specific park twice a month through September. If you walk through a local park regularly anyway, you could count the butterflies. This would be 12 counts total for the season. If it rains a lot, or you go on vacation and aren't around, it's OK. I survey a number of areas and often only get to some of then once a month. Anything you do is helpful. Email me if you are interested in surveying a park.
  • <>You could also count any butterflies that visit your yard. You do not need to have a "butterfly" garden. If you plant flowers around the yard you will probably have some butterflies passing through. Last year one of my non-butterfly friends documented with her cell phone the last Cloudless Sulphur of the season zipping nectar on Encore azaleas in her yard. She did not know what the butterfly was but sent in the picture. Email me if you are interested in surveying your yard.

"Instant" notifications of special butterfly sightings

Some of us are communicating by cell phone/text which can facilitate getting to a location when an interesting butterfly may still be there. If you have a cell phone with which you can send and receive text messages and want to get "instant" notifications, please send me your name (not your email name) and cell phone number. I am not sure how many names I can include when sending a message by text, but I will find out. I plan to set up a "practice text" to whoever wants to receive them and keep it on my phone. If I hear about a sighting (such as this one) that is NOT on private land, I'll send it out to those of you who are interested. For those without text capability I will include these sightings in the next group email. Email me (Linda) if you are interested.