Mass Butterfly Club wraps up season on Mattapoisett trail

Sep 6, 2022

MATTAPOISETT — For members of the Massachusetts Butterfly Club, a nature walk isn’t just about soaking up the sun – it’s a great chance to spot some end-of-season butterflies.  

In the late summer, many butterflies that live further south come up to Massachusetts, said Wendy Miller, who was part of the group trekking through the reservation. 

The walk at the Nasketucket Bay State Reservation was led by Andrew Griffith, an avid butterfly photographer and Operations Manager for Sippican Week and its sister papers, Dartmouth, Wareham, and Nemasket Week.

“You never know year-to-year what you’re going to see,” said Griffith, who added that he really took up the hobby in 2020 during a butterfly walk. Before then, he mostly just photographed the butterflies in his backyard, he said.

Now, with years of experience, Griffith leads the group of pros and amateurs, pointing out butterflies and imparting some wisdom along the way.

The butterfly watchers hiked down a tree-lined trail to an open meadow, explicitly planted as a natural habitat for butterflies. 

Griffith explained that on walks like these, it is most important to look for the plants that sustain the butterflies, which then lead to the colorful flyers themselves. 

During the walk at Nasketucket Bay, the group encountered Zabulon Skippers and Viceroys but, unfortunately, not much else.

Due to the cloudy day, the butterflies just weren’t coming out, said Griffith. 

He also noted that the Painted Lady species of butterfly, which is usually found in abundance, may have been affected by school closures over the past few years. 

This is because Painted Lady butterflies are commonly grown in classrooms as experiments, then released, according to Griffith.

However, Griffith admits that his theory is only speculation. 

However, four-year-old Dakota, who was on his first butterfly walk, said that the day was still a success — even though the hour-long hike did take a toll on him.  

Dakota’s sister, three-year-old Rosalie, even saw “something purple,” one of her only goals for the excursion.