Shores East and West

Over the weekend, while storms apparently rolled across the metro area (I say apparently because my garden was wet and there was standing water in the raccoon/coyote feed bowl), the afternoons on the western and eastern shores of the Bay were sunny until almost dark.  Hot, too.  I headed down the western shore on Saturday to Patuxent Wetland Park along Route 4 for a quick look at some Joe-pye and ironweed; pretty uneventful with a Zabulon Skipper, a Silver-Spotted Skipper, a dark-morph Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, and a Black Swallowtail (ovipositing on hemlock).  Farther down the road, I walked the trails at Flag Pond Nature Reserve in Calvert Co. and found not one single butterfly.  There may have been a skipper or two on the buddleia at the park kiosk when I drove in — the ONLY nectar source in the entire park — but it was in shadow by the time I finished my peregrination of the North Trail and pond trails.  Some interesting odes, though, Great Blue Skimmer and Four-spotted Pennant, and a number of Spotted Sandpipers and a very yellow Northern Waterthrush migrating through.  Still, a $6 park fee with little to show for it lep-wise.

Sunday I drove down the other side of the Bay, back to Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center to confirm the Southern Broken-dash, which was still there on the ornamentals (salvia this time) that were really the only nectar sources available (I didn’t walk the circuit of the pond, though, where there is often a little swamp milkweed — it was murderously hot).  This has proved a reliable location for Viceroy and Sunday was no exception; Zabulon, Crossline, and Silver-spotted Skippers in small numbers rounded out the lep count.  Best ode was a Slaty Skimmer.

I also drove through all of the Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area, again lepless save for a couple of Appalachian Browns around the lip of a small pond along the Schoolhouse Woods trail.  But the walk was worthwhile for the sight of a massive Swamp Darner laying eggs in wet, rotting logs along the same pool.  She actually made a small “popping” sound with each oviposition.  After she finished she flew up in typical Swamp Darner fashion and hung suspended from a branch over the pool, wiping the grime off her ovipositor.

The excursion to the Eastern Shore, however, really was an excuse to pop for steamed crabs and Old Dominion on draft at The Crab Claw.  I sat with other customers out on the open deck watching the fireworks across the Bay as rain and lightning pounded PG and Anne Arundel.  Nary a drop spoiled my dinner, finished off with that quintessential Chesapeake Bay dessert, Smith Island Cake.

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2 Responses to Shores East and West

  1. Dave Gauntt says:

    For Rick,
    This is Dave Gauntt from Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge. I said I’d let you know when the butterfly situation improved at the Butterfly garden and apparently it has – but it can be sporatic. See the enclosed message I got from some New Jersey leps.

    Hi Dave,

    I was able to visit Eastern Neck and the butterfly garden again on Friday, Aug 5th. You have done considerable work since I was last there in June. Great job! The garden really looked good and was very active with butterflies. I saw an amazing 41 species on the refuge including what is likely going to be a Kent County record: Northern Pearly-eye. At least 29 species were observed right in the garden. Those of us who are able to visit the garden really appreciate your hard work! It has been so hot and dry this year and the garden still looks so good. Nice Job!

    The following is my list from Friday. I put an asterisk next to the sp. seen in the garden.

    Thanks for all your hard work!
    Dave Amadio

    —– Original Message —–
    From: David L. Amadio
    Sent: Saturday, August 06, 2011 9:45 PM
    Subject: sightings

    Aug 5, 2011
    Eastern Neck NWR
    Rock Hall, MD
    ( D.Amadio )

    Zebra Swallowtail ( 43 )*
    Black Swallowtail ( 3 )*
    Eastern Tiger Swallowtail ( 10 )*
    Spicebush Swallowtail ( 29 )*
    Cabbage White
    Clouded Sulphur *
    Orange Sulphur ( 11 )*
    Sulphur sp. ( 3 ) ( white form )
    Gray Hairstreak ( 8 )*
    Red-banded Hairstreak ( 16 )*
    Eastern Tailed-Blue ( 18 )
    Spring Azure ( summer ) ( 3 )
    American Snout ( 5 )
    Variegated Fritillary ( 8 )*
    Pearl Crescent ( 17 )*
    Question Mark ( 4 )
    Eastern Comma
    Anglewing sp.
    American Lady*
    Red Admiral ( 2 )
    Common Buckeye ( 6 )*
    Red-spotted Admiral ( 10 )
    Hackberry Emperor
    Tawny Emperor ( 2 ) ( fresh )
    Northern Pearly-eye
    Monarch ( 10 )*
    Silver-spotted Skipper ( 30 )*
    Hayhurst’s Scallopwing ( 2 )*
    Common Checkered-Skipper ( 2 )*
    Common Sootywing ( 20 )*
    Swarthy Skipper ( 3 )*
    Least Skipper ( 3 )*
    Fiery Skipper ( 2 )*
    Tawny-Edged Skipper*
    Southern Broken-Dash ( 12 )*
    Little Glassywing ( 6 )*
    Sachem ( 2 )*
    Delaware Skipper ( 2 )*
    Zabulon Skipper ( 14 )*
    Broad-Winged Skipper*
    Dun Skipper ( 3 )*
    Salt Marsh Skipper ( 2 )*

    • Rick says:

      Dave, many thanks for letting me know! I was up two weeks ago and things were pretty dead — dry, dusty — except for the liatris in the front bed. I still want to take WABC to Eastern Neck on August 27; what do you think will be in bloom at that point, assuming we get some of this much-needed rain?

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