The Washington, DC area has a vibrant butterflying community, and we’re lucky enough to have lots of great experts who are happy to help beginning butterflyers. I highly recommend the following resources to get help, learn more, or just find out where other butterfly fans like to view butterflies in the area.
Google Group MDlepsodes— this discussion group is about moths, butterflies, damselflies & dragonflies seen within Maryland. I like to monitor it to see what other folks have spotted. This can be especially helpful since a given species is likely in flight at different spots within a region all at the same time. So if Brown Elfins are showing up in Silver Spring, they ought to be active at Woodend too (if we have them, that is).
Rick Borchelt’s blog Leplog.wordpress.com–Rick puts together an amazing resource that includes a calendar of upcoming butterfly walks, NABA counts, and field excursions. He also summarizes regional sightings more-or-less weekly, and gives his own forecast as to what species should be showing up in the following week.
NABA (North American Butterfly Association)— the organization that organizes and spearheads much of the field research occuring on butterflies in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Annual counts around here usually take place near July 4; see Rick Borchelt’s calendar mentioned above for local specifics. The NABA website also includes good information about gardening for butterflies and otherwise supporting and exploring butterflies in your area.
Xerces Society— This society protects and studies invertebrates and their habitat, including butterflies and bees. They are another great source for information about gardening plans & practices. The Xerces Society also puts out great publications about bees, butterflies, and gardens like the ones pictured at the top of this post. I’ve learned a lot from those books over the years.
Did I miss any of your favorite resources, either online or offline? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to update the list!