Heartened by Bob Speaker’s Washbutterflies post yesterday of an anglewing in the Bottelli collection at the US National Arborteum, I spent the afternoon from about 1 pm until high clouds chilled everything down around 3:30 at the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge North Tract. No butterflies in sight, despite the helpful observation by the staff naturalist at check-in that azures had been seen already this spring (!), but bats were hawking in full sun along the Wildlife Loop road.
Many of the trail areas within the North Tract are closed; here’s a pic of the Kingfisher Trail en route to Rieve’s Pond (one of the most popular hiking trails, and a location where I hoped to find an early elfin or anglewing). It helps to keep in mind that midAtlantic and northeastern forests probably aren’t fire climax ecosystems after all — current thought is that major snow and ice storms and hurricanes do the occasional forest-wide pruning and opening up of glades and revegetation areas. And it makes us remember that there’s a reason broadleaved evergreens like magnolia don’t occur very far north even if they’re hardy here — the winter snows break them to bits.