Following in Tom Stock’s footprints to Lake Artemesia in College Park this afternoon after the storms moved on, there was still a lot of butterfly action around the lakeside trail. The hopping nectar source was the several banks of abelia along the west side of the lake; in the first 10 minutes there I counted 50 each of Eastern tiger swallowtails and sachems before I stopped counting. And I picked up Tom’s broad-winged skipper as well, nectaring (as it was for him) on pickerel weed. Other nectar sources included a second flush of porcelain berry, some sumac, a few swamp milkweeds, and various composites.
For those who don’t know it, Lake Artemesia is an artificial lake area managed by MNCPPC that was created as soil was removed for construction of Greenbelt Metro. It adjoins the confluence of Paint Branch and Indian Creek. It also happens to be one of the very best butterfly spots inside the Beltway.
NEXT SATURDAY, weather permitting, I’d be glad of company for a couple hours of walking around the lake and adjoining lands. This informal LepTrek will begin at 10 am in the Lake Artemesia parking lot (there is only one) and the troop will proceed around the lake counterclockwise (that is, beginning along the western shore with the abelia). We’ll finish up by 1 pm and folks are welcome to decamp with me after to a local eatery (probably Bagel Place in College Park but happy to take alternate suggestions at the time). Should be continuing good nectar sources available, with goldenrod coming on as well. (Note: Birders might want to come early and bird the lake first using the Luther Goldman birding trail, recently written up in collegepark.patch.com: http://collegepark.patch.com/articles/trail-heads-birds-of-a-feather-walk-lake-artemesia-together)
DIRECTIONS TO LAKE ARTEMESIA: From the Capital Beltway (I-95), take Kenilworth Avenue (Rte. 201) south and inside the Capital Beltway for 0.5 mile. Turn right on Greenbelt Road (Rte 193) following it 0.75 miles. Turn right on Branchville Rd. after Beltway Plaza (see sign for Lake Artemesia) following it for 0.7 miles. The road will bear left and left again crossing under Greenbelt Road where it changes its name to Balew Avenue. Just after the stop sign at Berwyn Road, turn left into the parking lot for Lake Artemesia. The lake, not visible from the parking lot, is about two blocks further down Balew Avenue. Look for the black Prius with RNGRIK plates.
No need to RSVP, but if the weather is dicey or there’s any other problem I’ll post a cancellation note to LepLog (www.leplog.wordpress.com) and email anyone who has expressed an interest.
Here’s my count for today (where the alpha codes are from the NABA site; s=superabundant >100, a=abundant 21-100, c=common 11-20)
Number of Species: 19
Number of Individuals: 666
Lake Artemesia, College Park
MD , USA 20740
Notes: Late afternoon (3 pm-5pm), partly cloudy, warm (upper 80’s F) and very humid following rains earlier in the day. Abundant nectar sources: swamp milkweed, Mikania (climbing hempweed), pickerel weed, and several rows of planted Abelia.
-==| List of Sightings for this Field Trip |==-
Common Name Scientific Name Life Stage Number Seen Notes
Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes Adult 1
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus Adult S well over a hundred on the Abelia alone
Spicebush Swallowtail Papilio troilus Adult 3
Orange Sulphur Colias eurytheme Adult 4
Cloudless Sulphur Phoebis sennae Adult 1
Sleepy Orange Eurema nicippe Adult 1
Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus Adult 2 on Mikania
Eastern Tailed-Blue Everes comyntas Adult 7
Variegated Fritillary Euptoieta claudia Adult 1
Pearl Crescent Phyciodes tharos Adult A
Common Buckeye Junonia coenia Adult A
Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax Adult 2
Viceroy Limenitis archippus Adult 1
Monarch Danaus plexippus Adult A
Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus Adult A
Crossline Skipper Polites origenes Adult 1
Sachem Atalopedes campestris Adult S
Zabulon Skipper Poanes zabulon Adult 1 female
Broad-winged Skipper Poanes viator Adult 1 nectaring on pickerel weed