After spending a couple of hours on work-related stuff for NCI, then hassling over purchase and installation of a new hot water heater (these things ALWAYS break down on a holiday weekend), I headed off to Suitland Bog near Andrews Air Force Base for what I thought would be an hour or so before the storms rolled in. I arrived in hot, steamy sunshine about 3 pm and to my surprise it stayed mostly sunny and muggy until I fininshed up around 6 pm.
Suitland Bog is one of the few remaining metro-area examples of a magnolia bog — the dominant tree here is sweet bay magnolia in the little more than an acre than comprises the bog proper. It was in bloom now, as were hundreds of pitcher plants and a small pink orchid (probably rose pogonia; haven’t keyed it out yet).
The entrance road and all the woodland edges were practically swarming with newly emerged Zabulon Skippers, all but one of the several dozen I saw were males. Also quite abundant were Azures (which I presume are Summer (Spring) Azures); I watched several ovipositing on one the unopened florets of one of the viburnums in the bog. (probably Viburnum nudum, see comment)
In the large open wet meadow before you get to the bog, a number of Crossline Skippers were working the white clover, and Little Wood Satyrs and Least Skippers bobbed about in the grasses (and woodlands, in the case of the satyrs). In the bog itself, the best find was a little mob of Little Glassywings, also looking freshly emerged.
I walk a couple hundred yards through the woods at the edge of the bog to the powerline ROW, also quite marshy with dogbane just beginning to come into bloom and a dainty recumbent bramble all over the place. There were a couple of good FOY (for Maryland) butterflies for me, including Gray Hairstreak, Red-banded Hairstreak, and Variegated Fritillary. But the most surprising (to me) was a very late and remarkably well preserved EASTERN PINE ELFIN under the couple of pines at the end of the ROW.
Suitland Bog promises to be full of surprises during the coming season; look for a LepTrek here later in the summer.
Here’s the full BIS report:
==| Field Trip |==-
Number of Species: 20
Number of Individuals: 199
MD , USA 20740
Notes: Warm, near 90. In the field from 3 pm – 6 pm, mostly sunny with occasional clouds. Still or light breeze. Explored the entrance road and field, bog boardwalk, and adjacent powerline ROW. Dogbane just coming into bloom in the open areas; lespedeza, red and white clovers, and fleabane also in bloom. In the bog few traditional nectar sources were available. Viburnums just breaking bud; kalmia and sweet bay in bloom.
Common Name Scientific Name Life Stage Number Seen Notes
Pipevine Swallowtail Battus philenor Adult 1
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus Adult 2
Cabbage White Pieris rapae Adult Common
Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice Adult 5
EASTERN PINE ELFIN Callophrys niphon Adult 1
Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus Adult 1
Red-banded Hairstreak Calycopis cecrops Adult 3
Eastern Tailed-Blue Everes comyntas Adult 3
‘Summer’ Spring Azure Celastrina ladon neglecta Adult A
Variegated Fritillary Euptoieta claudia Adult 3
Eastern Comma Polygonia comma Adult 1
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta Adult 1
Common Buckeye Junonia coenia Adult 1
Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax Adult 1
Little Wood-Satyr Megisto cymela (includes viola) Adult Abundant
Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus Adult 3
Least Skipper Ancyloxypha numitor Adult Common
Crossline Skipper Polites origenes Adult 4 mostly on clover in the field
Little Glassywing Pompeius verna Adult 4 most of them in the bog proper
Zabulon Skipper Poanes zabulon Adult Common all but one were males
Also three large black unidentified swallowtails flying to fast for ID.