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East Brunswick Backyard Butterflies

Keeping a simple yard list of butterflies seen was fun!

I've never been much of a "lister" which is what naturalists are called that keep lists of what they see. It can be a list of birds, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, really anything that is seen and usually some basic information on when and where. I'm usually more of an "in the moment observer," enjoying something when I see it and not caring too much about checking it off a list. But this year I decided I would keep a list of each butterfly I saw in and around my yard. I have to admit it was a lot of fun. As the season progressed it became a a little bit like a treasure hunt, trying to find every different butterfly that visited the yard. I enjoyed it enough that I might actually start keeping a yard list of birds. I've also been observing moths in my yard for years and at some point if I can find the time and energy, I might just begin to compile the list of those as well. I don't know how many I've seen but I suspect it must be at least 500 species, maybe more. For the butterflies, I just kept a simple list with the first date that I saw each new species. If I continue to keep a list in the upcoming years it should be fun to see what differences there are. Here are the butterflies and the first date I saw them in my yard this year:

Mourning cloak - March 30, 2012

Cabbage white - April 8, 2012

Spring Azure - April 12, 2012

Red Admiral - April 14, 2012

Tiger swallowtail - May 20, 2012

Comma - May 24, 2012    

Silver spotted skipper - May 25, 2012

Spicebush swallowtail - May 27, 2012

Clouded sulphur - May 28, 2012

Summer azure - May 28, 2012

Red-banded hairstreak - June 3, 2012

Red-spotted purple - June 21, 2012

Delaware skipper - July 25, 2012

Monarch - July 25, 2012

American Lady - July 25, 2012

Question Mark - September 30, 2012

To help identify the common butterflies in East Brunswick, the Friends has developed an Online Field Guide that has photographs, ecological notes and tips on how to tell butterflies apart that look similar. The Friends has also developed a similar Online Field Guide to Backyard Birds. Consider joining the Friends, membership is free.   

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