Butterfly Count

Event Date
Event Contact

Dr. Paul Castrovillo Paul.Castrovillo@isda.idaho.gov Note that participation is limited to the first 40 respondents.

This year's Boise Front 4th of July Butterfly Count will be held on Sunday, July 8th. Weather permitting it will be an all-day affair. We'd love to have you join us.

We will meet in the parking lot of the 17th and State Marketplace on the corner of – you guessed it – 17th and State Street (across the street from the Albertsons parking lot at 16th and State).

As in past years, we will gather in the parking lot at 8:30 am for cinnamon rolls and OJ to fortify us for the job ahead. We will decide on who will act as info compiler at each count site, and settle on car-pooling plans.

Then we will follow our traditional butterfly-census route. We'll go to Military Reserve, park there and count butterflies for about 45 minutes. Next we'll drive up Bogus Basin Road (with two stops along the way to count butterflies - turnouts at the 5 mile marker and the 11 mile marker). Then we stop at the Bogus Basin Chairlift for lunch and some more butterfly-counting. We finish with a hike around Mores Mountain. This usually wraps up at about 6:00 pm. Based on past years, we typically see about 40-45 butterfly species over the course of the day (that's nearly one third of the butterfly species found in Idaho – see attached spreadsheet if interested). When the weather has been not-so-good we’ve been reduced to about 30, and during 2012, 2013 and 2014 we broke all of our previous records and observed 57 species!

Prepare for a day of hiking - bring plenty of fluid, sunscreen and your lunch. If you have a butterfly net it is handy - but not a must. A $4.00 registration fee will be collected from each person. $3.00 of that goes to NABA (North American Butterfly Association) who compile and publish the results of all the annual butterfly counts conducted throughout Canada, the US and Mexico and the rest is dispersed to folks who drive during the count and have to pay to park at the Mores Mountain location.

If you think you know how to identify butterflies or some butterflies you are valuable to us. If you don't know the identities of local butterflies, but would like to learn a few, this is the place for you. People who have the knowledge are eager to share and I will have some ID booklets available for your use to aid in your learning. If you want to spend a day out in Nature and the fresh air (and hopefully some sun) we always need extra eyes to find butterflies and point them out to the folks doing the identification.

This year, as in the past, we also have a Butterfly ID workshop scheduled the day before the count if you are interested in getting a crash course on some of the butterflies we typically see on the count (or if you’d like to brush up your ID skills after tucking them away for the winter). The ID session will be held at Boone Hall at the College of Idaho in Caldwell. We will meet at the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History, in the basement of Boone Hall, at 11:45 on Saturday, July 7th. The workshop will last until approx. 2:30. There is no charge to attend the workshop.

You don’t have to come to the ID session to attend the count. And you don’t have to attend the count to come to the ID session. You are welcome at either or both.

If you'd like to join the butterfly-hunting party, you will need to meet us at 8:30 Sunday morning. If you plan to attend, please contact me ahead of time (so I'll know how many cinnamon rolls to bring!). For more information, or to let me know you're planning to be there e-mail Paul at paul.castrovillo@isda.idaho.gov or call and leave a message at 332-8627.

We have been getting some really good turn-outs at the last few counts – almost to the point where keeping track of everyone and finding parking at some of the count stops has been getting a little tricky. Because of that we’ll be limiting the count to the first 40 respondents (if we get more than that, like we did two years ago), so if you are seriously interested in attending you may not want to wait until the last minute to RSVP to me.

If you know anyone else who might be interested in counting butterflies on Sunday and/or learning some butterfly ID info on Saturday, please forward this information to them. The count and ID session are open to everyone and we're always looking for new volunteers to join the Boise 4J Count veterans.

Hope you're able to join us on this year's Butterfly Count.