Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015: My Big Year by the numbers

So on Friday I summarized my Big Year experiences, or at least some of the highlights. Today I wanted to break it down a bit more.

As I mentioned, I saw a total of 81 species of butterfly.
28 of the total were lifers for me, 34.6%. Not bad!

Out of the 81 species:
  • 8 were Swallowtails
  • 2 were Whites
  • 10 were Sulphurs/Dogfaces/Oranges
  • 5 were Hairstreaks/Elfins
  • 4 were Blues/Azures
  • 25 were Brush-foots
  • 27 were Skippers
I searched for butterflies in 27 different parks:
  • 1 National Park
  • 3 National Wildlife Refuges
  • 1 National Forest
  • 1 National Monument
  • 5 state parks
  • 3 Nature Centers & Nature Preserves
  • 4 Regional and Metro Parks
  • 2 Botanical Gardens & Arboreta
  • 1 Natural Environmental Area
  • 1 Amusement Park
  • 5 neighborhood & community parks
 I also visited 4 residential locations (my house, relatives' houses, and so forth).

I searched for butterflies at more than 7 rest stops and random stops along the roadside. Probably far more rest stops than I can remember for sure, I need to improve my recordkeeping this year.

I visited 7 states for my Big Year: Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. This year I probably would do well to head north a bit more than I did in 2015.

What I didn't keep track of last year but plan to this year:
  • Total number of forays
  • Time spent for the project (both how many days I spent any time butterflying, as well as total time spent in the field)
  •  Miles traveled to get to/from foray sites
  • Miles hiked/walked during forays
  • Money spent on parking fees, park admissions, etc.
  • Total days taken off work to go butterflying
Anything else you think I should track this year? Let me know in the comments. It's going to be a great year. :-)


  1. I love your blog. It is right up my alley of interest. I did not see many butterflies in my yard, but was able to raise a few monarchs for release. I so appreciate you coming by my blog... Michelle

  2. Hi Michelle! Thanks for the compliment. That's so cool that you raised monarchs. I'm adding more flowerbeds to my yard this spring and hope to grow milkweed so I can maybe get monarch caterpillars. :-)

    I really enjoyed the chickadee article you reposted recently, by the way! The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has so many cool resources for birding and citizen science. Yay!


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