Last Sunday I headed out to Eastern Neck NWR — despite the heat, or at least what I *thought* was heat last weekend! — to scout out the proposed WABC field trip for August 13. Last year this time Eastern Neck was nothing short of amazing: hordes of broad-winged skippers, lots of other grass skippers, frits, and a county record tawny emperor.
But things are different this year. The garden has been cut about in half — apparently the crew inadvertently introduced some invasives in compost they brought in, and large sections of the garden have been torn up to eradicate them, as explained in the letter on yellow paper:
But between the small patch of clover beside the small pond just before you get to the butterfly garden/Bayview Butterfly Trail, and the garden itself, the count was pretty respectable. But because the garden is already in bloom decline, and a lot of the late bloomers don’t look to be there anymore, I’m not sure it will be worth while to return here on August 13. A long way to go if there are no other good nectar resources, and nothing much else seems to be coming on by then. So we’re going to switch out August 13 to reschedule the Carroll County WABC trip we had planned for tomorrow but cancelled because of the extreme heat. I’ll monitor the garden and maybe the August 27 open date will support a return to Eastern Neck.
The highlights Sunday were zebra swallowtails everywhere on the refuge, and the colony of silvery checkerspots on the white clover near the pond.
-==| Field Trip |==-
Number of Species: 21
Number of Individuals: 147
Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge
MD , USA
Notes: Very warm (upper 80s) and sunny, in the field roughly 4 hours from 1230 hrs to 1630 hours. Very few nectar sources except a very productive small patch of white clover near the pond close to the Bayview Butterfly Trail, and at the butterfly garden itself (liatris, joe-pye weed, ironweed, butterfly weed, clethra).
Common Name Scientific Name Life Stage Number Seen Notes
Zebra Swallowtail Eurytides marcellus Adult 33
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus Adult 1
Spicebush Swallowtail Papilio troilus Adult 10
Cabbage White Pieris rapae Adult 2
Orange Sulphur Colias eurytheme Adult 6
Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus Adult 7 all on the small clover patch
Red-banded Hairstreak Calycopis cecrops Adult 3
Eastern Tailed-Blue Everes comyntas Adult 13
‘Summer’ Spring Azure Celastrina ladon neglecta Adult 2
Variegated Fritillary Euptoieta claudia Adult 1
Silvery Checkerspot Chlosyne nycteis Adult 16 all on the clover patch
Pearl Crescent Phyciodes tharos Adult 1
Eastern Comma Polygonia comma Adult 1 plus one unidentified Polygonia
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta Adult 1
Common Buckeye Junonia coenia Adult 2
Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax Adult 4
Monarch Danaus plexippus Adult 2
Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus Adult 26
Horace’s Duskywing Erynnis horatius Adult 4
Least Skipper Ancyloxypha numitor Adult 9
Broad-winged Skipper Poanes viator Adult 3 butterfly garden only