There are many things I associate with the upcoming August long weekend; marshmallows, fireflies and sunscreen top my list, as does my husband’s birthday. But in recent years something else has become closely linked in my mind with this civic holiday – butterflies and the people who count them. Yes, there are actually people who count butterflies!
Our first encounter with “The Butterfly Counters” happened about five years ago while sitting out front of our schoolhouse. We could see them lurking in the surrounding forest, giant nets in hand. It wasn’t long before one of them approached us and my husband, always happy to chat, invited them onto our property. Our conversation was cut short when the elusive Tawny Emperor was spotted. Before rushing off in its direction, our visitors quickly informed us that this particular butterfly was attracted to scat. Well, Bailey, our collie/retriever mix provides no shortage of that and so the butterfly counters were soon happily darting across the property counting more Tawny Emperors than they had ever seen.
Since that time, the butterfly counters always pop in to say “hi” and see how the butterfly population has fared. It’s become a new August long weekend tradition for us. We always stop what we’re doing and take the time to enjoy a conversation knowing that it will probably be cut short upon a rare butterfly sighting. That’s okay; we know they’ll be back next year.