2020 October Derby

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fsm...@aol.com

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Sep 22, 2020, 8:36:40 PM9/22/20
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Hi Everyone,
 
October is just around the corner. I am seeing lots of reports from the field and note that the late season migrants appear to be showing up in good numbers this year, even if no Long-Tailed Skippers yet.

I am happy to announce that, although I remain permanently in absentia in Southern California, I plan to run the "October Derby" again this year [rules below]. It's always hard to predict how well we'll do. In 2017, we shattered our previous record year from 2012, and 2019 was a decent year based on our history: I challenge you to do better in 2020. Here's the history:
   
     MBC  [Collectively]                       Me  [Personally] 
2006              34 species                       22 species 
2007              37 species                       24 species 
2008              32 species                       20 species
2009              26 species                       12 species
2010              33 species                       14 species
2011              33 species                       17 species
2012              42 species*                      23 species
2013              35 species**                     21 species
2014  28-30 species             n/a
2015       33 species***             n/a
2016              39 species                                   n/a
2017           46.5 species****                       n/a
2018              29 species*****                      n/a
2019              35 species******                    n/a

*Plus two additional larvae [pipevine swallowtail + giant swallowtail] = 44!
**Plus three additional larvae [giant swallowtail + harvester + red-spotted purple] = 38
***Plus one additional larva [spicebush swallowtail] = 34
****Plus two additional larvae [Baltimore checkerspot + giant swallowtail] = 48.5
*****Plus two additional larvae [Baltimore checkerspot + giant swallowtail] + one additional chrysalis [spicebush swallowtail] = 32
******Plus three additional subadults [giant swallowtail, spicebush swallowtail, Baltimore checkerspot] = 38
 
With luck [no early killer frost], the club should look to book at least 30 species. With a good showing of the migrant species and broad coverage of the state, another record year is not out of the question, though 2017 will be very tough to beat. In general, personal targets of 15 or 20 are reasonable, but require diligence. It's surprising how hard those last few species become.

To review the ground rules, on October 1, we wipe our species slates clean and see how many species we can turn up in Massachusetts during  the month of October.  All you need do is post your sightings here on the MBC Listserve, which most of you do anyway. I also check the Massachusetts Butterflies group on Facebook periodically. I'll keep score and provide updates, along with a final count at the end of the month.

This should be treated as a group project, purely for the fun of it. I'll be posting the aggregate MBC list only, not individual ones. [I don't even keep track of individual counts.] Because of budgetary limitations [namely no budget] there are no prizes, aside from our collective satisfaction in sending the 2020 butterfly season out with a bang.

Remember, the derby begins at the stroke of midnight as Wednesday, September 30 becomes Thursday, October 1. This year, October has three weekends. That should help boost the numbers a little. That, plus the fact many of us are not at work these days.

No need to send me separate communications [unless you don't post to MassLep] - I'll be monitoring the MassLep postings and issuing frequent updates.  

Finally, FYI, I append the list of last year's October species, of which there were 38, counting the three subadults..

Happy butterflying. 

Cheers,
Frank


October 2019 Sightings List
[Through October 25]
Massachusetts Butterfly Club
Composite Listing [35 adults + 3 subadults = 38 species]
 
American Copper
American Lady
Baltimore Checkerspot [Larva]
Black Swallowtail
Bronze Copper
Cabbage White
Clouded Sulphur
Cloudless  Sulphur
Common Buckeye
Common Ringlet
Eastern Comma
Eastern Tailed Blue
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Fiery Skipper
Giant Swallowtail [Larva]
Gray Hairstreak
Great Spangled Fritillary
Least Skipper
Long-Tailed Skipper
Milbert's Tortoiseshell
Monarch
Mourning Cloak
Ocola Sikpper
Orange Sulphur
Painted Lady
Peck's Skipper
Pearl Crescent
Red Admiral
Quesion Mark
Red-Banded Hairstreak
Sachem
Silver-Bordered Fritillary
Silver-Spotted Skipper
Spicebush Swallowtail [Larva, Chrysalis]
Summer Azure
Variegated Fritillary
Viceroy
Wild Indigo Duskywing
 

Lauren Miller-Donnelly

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Sep 24, 2020, 4:33:48 PM9/24/20
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image.png
I am watching a Zoom presentation about sea level rise and decided to make myself useful! Ideally I would obtain the average first frost date and depict that on the east Y axis. '

Good luck with the derby everyone and thanks Frank for keeping track of the data every year!

-Lauren Miller-Donnelly
Westport, MA

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fsm...@aol.com

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Sep 26, 2021, 12:59:05 AM9/26/21
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Hi Everyone,
 
October is just around the corner. I am seeing lots of reports from the field and note that the late season migrants appear to be showing up, an encouraging sign. However, my sense is that counts this year have been generally on the low side. We shall see.

I am happy to announce that, although I remain permanently in absentia in Southern California, I plan to run the "October Derby" again this year [rules below]. That said, I am also announcing that this will be my last year running it. Sixteen years will be enough. By October, 2022, I'll have turned 80 and have bigger fish to fry in the little time I have left. I hope one of you will step forward to keep this annual project going.

It's always hard to predict how well we'll do. In 2017, we shattered our previous record year from 2012, and 2019 was a decent year based on our history: Last year [2020] was bedeviled by COVID and an early frost, so I consider our more modest count respectable under the circumstances. I challenge you to do better in 2021. Here's the history:
   
     MBC  [Collectively]                       Me  [Personally] 
2006              34 species                       22 species 
2007              37 species                       24 species 
2008              32 species                       20 species
2009              26 species                       12 species
2010              33 species                       14 species
2011              33 species                       17 species
2012              42 species*                      23 species
2013              35 species**                     21 species
2014  28-30 species             n/a
2015       33 species***             n/a
2016              39 species                                   n/a
2017           46.5 species****                       n/a
2018              29 species*****                      n/a
2019              35 species******                    n/a
2020              32 species*******                   n/a

*Plus two additional larvae [pipevine swallowtail + giant swallowtail] = 44!
**Plus three additional larvae [giant swallowtail + harvester + red-spotted purple] = 38
***Plus one additional larva [spicebush swallowtail] = 34
****Plus two additional larvae [Baltimore checkerspot + giant swallowtail] = 48.5
*****Plus two additional larvae [Baltimore checkerspot + giant swallowtail] + one additional chrysalis [spicebush swallowtail] = 32
******Plus three additional subadults [giant swallowtail, spicebush swallowtail, Baltimore checkerspot] = 38
*******Plus one additional subadult [Baltimore checkerspot] = 33
 
With luck [decent migrant turnout, no early killer frost], the club should look to book at least 30 species. With a good showing of the migrant species and broad coverage of the state, we could do a lot better than that, though 2017 will be very tough to beat. In general, personal targets of 15 or 20 are reasonable, but require diligence. It's surprising how hard those last few species become.

To review the ground rules, on October 1, we wipe our species slates clean and see how many species we can turn up in Massachusetts during  the month of October.  All you need do is post your sightings here on the MBC Listserve, which most of you do anyway. I also check the Massachusetts Butterflies group on Facebook periodically. I'll keep score and provide updates, along with a final count at the end of the month.

This should be treated as a group project, purely for the fun of it. I'll be posting the aggregate MBC list only, not individual ones. [I don't even keep track of individual counts.] Because of budgetary limitations [namely no budget] there are no prizes, aside from our collective satisfaction in sending the 2021 butterfly season out with a bang.

Remember, the derby begins at the stroke of midnight as Thursday, September 30 becomes Friday, October 1. Butterflies showing up at moth lights after midnight Thursday can be counted. This year, October has three weekends in the early part of the month.. That should help boost the numbers. And being outdoors without many other people around is one of the more COVID-compatible activities.

No need to send me separate communications [unless you don't post to MassLep] - I'll be monitoring the MassLep postings and issuing frequent updates.  

Finally, FYI, I append the list of last year's October species, of which there were 33, counting the one subadult.

Happy butterflying. 

Cheers,
Frank


 October 2020 Sightings List
[Through October 31]
Massachusetts Butterfly Club
Composite Listing [32 adults +1 subadult = 33 species]
 
American Copper
American Lady
Baltimore Checkerspot [larva]
Black Swallowtail
Bronze Copper
Cabbage White
Clouded Sulphur
Cloudless Sulphur
Common Buckeye
Common Ringlet
Eastern Comma
Eastern Tailed Blue
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Fiery Skipper
Gray Hairstreak
Least Skipper
Long-Tailed Skipper
Monarch
Mourning Cloak
Ocola Skipper
Orange Sulphur
Painted Lady
Pearl Crescent
Red Admiral
Peck's Skipper
Red-Banded Hairstreak
Sachem
Silver-Spotted Skipper
Silver-Bordered Fritillary
Spicebush Swallowtail
Viceroy
Wild Indigo Duskywing
Zabulon Skipper
 

fsm...@aol.com

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Nov 8, 2021, 12:36:04 PM11/8/21
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Happy November Everyone.

Sue Cloutier suggested I compile the count history of the 16 years of the October Derby, so here it is. Also see "notes" below.

October Derby Butterfly Count History

Format [2012 and beyond]: adults + subadults = total species

2006              34 species 
2007              37 species
2008              32 species
2009              26 species
2010              33 species
2011              33 species
2012              42 + 2 = 44 species
2013              35 + 3 = 38 species
2014       28 to 30 species
2015       33 + 1 = 34 species
2016              39 species
2017              46.5 + 2 = 48.5 species
2018              29 + 3 + 32 species
2019              35 + 3 = 38 species
2020              32 + 1 = 33 species
2021              38 + 3 = 41 species

Notes

[1] Format varies. We did not count subadults at the outset.

[2] The count for 2014 was uncertain because of some suspected sloppy reporting. Two reported species may actually be from late September.

[3] No subadults reported in 2016.


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