Memorial Day, Frederick Municipal Forest

Escaping the high temperatures in the metro area, I did some scouting in the area where Tom Stock is leading WABC on our next outing June 11:  the watershed areas of Frederick Municipal Forest.  I hadn’t been there in quite a while, and Tom had tipped me off that Indian Skippers might be flying, so I took a chance on this very sunny afternoon to explore some areas along Gambrill Park Road, Fishing Creek, and Mountaindale Road.

By far the best site was the one that Tom will feature on our field trip — a short forest path that ends in two small ponds edged with alder, willow, Russian olive, and grasses and sedges.  Little Wood Satyrs were everywhere along the path, but even though I crossed two open areas en route to the ponds there were few leps to be seen.  All that changed the minute I hit the pond edge, where no fewer than four Indian Skippers were working a single blackberry stem.  I saw several dozen Indian Skippers over the course of the afternoon, interspersed with a dozen or so Tawny-edged Skippers.  But there were also a dozen or more very fresh, dark orange Hobomok Skippers also working the blackberry, include two dark ‘pocahantas’ form females.  All in all, low diversity but really good leps.  After spending two hours in this small little patch, I was only able to check out some other areas by car but I can tell I’m going to be spending a lot of time there over the summer.

The full list included:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus Adult Common
Spicebush Swallowtail Papilio troilus Adult Common
Cabbage White Pieris rapae Adult 3
Eastern Tailed-Blue Everes comyntas Adult 1
‘Summer’ Spring Azure Celastrina ladon neglecta Adult Common
Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax Adult Common along all the roads in the area
Little Wood-Satyr Megisto cymela (includes viola) Adult Common
Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus Adult 1
Dreamy Duskywing Erynnis icelus Adult Common
Indian Skipper Hesperia sassacus Adult Abundant
Tawny-edged Skipper Polites themistocles Adult Common
Hobomok Skipper Poanes hobomok Adult 13
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