Maryland Big Year #14 — Clouded Sulphur

Sunday afternoon, April 11, I spent about two hours late in the afternoon hiking through the Rachel Carson Conservation Park along Hawlings River near Brookeville, MD.  It’s one of the undeveloped park properties in Montgomery County (much like Hoyle’s Mill), and the habitat ranges from open second growth forest (even more open since it’s pretty clear the deer browse it to the ground) to some damp, ferny areas along the river, to a rather large pasture/weedy area that is in the process of being reclaimed as meadowland.  It’s here I picked up species #14 — clouded sulphur — and I’m embarrassed it took me this long to log one.

Cabbage whites were everywhere, as were falcate orangetips — I probably saw four or five dozen orangetips, mostly males, hanging out around the extensive patches of cress and garlic mustard on the slopes down toward the river.  Several eastern tiger swallowtails, a couple of unidentified Celastris (there is no holly at Carson, so unlikely to be idella), and a Juvenal’s duskywing rounded out the afternoon.

The meadow area holds great promise for later in the season, with abundant last-season stalks of dogbane and milkweed, plus a good measure of brambles that are setting bud.

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