the doldrums

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at
Mon Jun 25 13:56:52 EDT 2001

Hank & Priscilla Brodkin wrote

> As far as I know there has never been a mandate to conduct the 4th of
> July counts on the 4th of July, especially in those parts of the country
> where this is not appropriate.
> To quote the guidelines:
> "A count may be held earlier or later than this period [centered around
> the 4th of July] if this is advantageous for counting butterflies in
> that area and if the count is held held about this same time each year."

Knowing we are dealing with brief (informationally incomplete) email
messages here, I offer this comment on the above out of context bit.

The problem with this "guideline" is found in the words/terms  "A count",
"centered", "THE count".  This is still a mono _early July_ annual
activity. There needs to be bi-annual counts in spring and fall. They need
to be called the "Spring Count" and the "Fall Count". But this would screw
up the entire public connectivity of this - we all go out about the same
time and generate this huge report we can all read about the same time.

Spring in Florida is February (except in the Keys when it is the end of May
due to the rainy season that brings stuff out), in the North Carolina
mountains it is April. Rather than editorializing I will just say this.
What is it that is want to be done?  All get together and have a fun time?
Or, conduct meaningful, scientifically oriented species surveys? If it is
the latter then it will be more work than fun and totally uncoordinatable
in calendar time. If the former, then the long weekend of the 4th is a good
as  any for a get together for a hike to count the Buckeyes, Cabbage Whites
and pretty swallowtails.

In the climate that frequently prevails on line of missing peoples
points -- I am not against counts. To the contrary, I am very much for
them. I am calling for this counting to simply be done twice a year and at
a local time when it really counts. On this issue I am totally on the side
of the Lepidoptera not collectors, watchers, NABA, TILS or any one/thing
else.  I also applaud those, like the Brodkins, who are doing it right.


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