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Antietam Battlefield site of first butterfly count

By Staff | Jul 24, 2015

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society will sponsor the first Annual Butterfly Count along the Final Attack Trail on the Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland on Saturday, July 25.

The Washington County Bird Club is cosponsoring the event.

Dave Kaplan, a local butterfly expert, will lead the count. The count will be free and open to anyone with an interest, regardless of his or her expertise. This will be a perfect family activity, and children, accompanied by adults, are encouraged to attend.

Participation is limited to 20 people and pre-registration is required. Easy registration is available on the PVAS website at www.potomacaudubon.org.

Participants should plan to meet count leader Kaplan at the Burnside Bridge at 10:00 a.m. Sandy Sagalkin will be the co-leader and will help identify bird life during the count.

The count will last about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and cover mostly level terrain.

The Final Attack Trail is in the portion of the Antietam Battlefield where the Union Army made its final advance to drive the Confederate Army from Maryland on Sept. 17, 1862, only to be turned back by A.P. Hill’s final Confederate counterattack.

It is also the site of an extensive effort by the Antietam National Battlefield to restore and preserve native grasslands on the Otto Farm fields in the Battlefield’s southwest corner. The park has recently been the recipient of a pollinator grant from the National Park Service, which will be used to add native wildflowers to the existing stands of native warm season grasses at the farm.

The butterfly count, along with data on birdlife and other wildlife, will be used in documenting the value of the project at the Otto Farm. Potomac Valley Audubon has been active in supporting the project and assisting park personnel in monitoring bird life in the area for the last two years.

As butterflies do not fly in the rain and heavy overcast can keep them down, participants should check the PVAS website for postponements if bad weather is forecast. If the count is postponed, a notice will be placed on the website by 9:00 p.m. on the day before the count.

Participants should wear sturdy footwear, dress appropriately for the prevailing weather conditions, and bring along water, a broad-brimmed hat, and insect repellent. PVAS has a limited supply of loaner binoculars for those who do not have their own.

For more information, contact Mr. Kaplan at janandavek@verizon.net or Mr. Sagalkin at monsansagalkkin@myactv.net or 240-291-6465.