April 6 in Green Ridge State Forest

Fran Pope, Tom Stock and I took a chance on finding warm enough temps in Green Ridge State Forest in Allegany Co to justify the long trip out there today (two hours and change for me and Tom coming from the DC area; two hours for Fran coming from far western MD).
We were in the field from roughly 11 am until past 5 pm and visited a variety of habitats.  Even though the thermometer read low 50s, Tom and I had pipevine swallowtails, Juvenal’s duskywings, and a lone silvery blue (a life butterfly for me) along one of the main forest roads en route to our rendezvous with Fran.  Floral spring is well advanced in Allegany Co., with nectar sources along the road including various cresses, rocket, groundsel, various violets, and phlox, plus redbud at peak bloom.  Temps topped out at 59 degrees F.

Highlights of the day (other than my lifer silvery blue) were large numbers of cobweb skippers, wild indigo duskywing flying with sleepy duskywings and abundant dreamy duskywings, early gray hairstreaks, and surprisingly large numbers of American lady (nine, most faded) and variegated fritillary (we stopped counting at 10 and probably had another two dozen after that).  The current flight of cabbage whites, easily the most common butterfly there aside from mixed duskywings, were mostly small, often suffused with yellow, and often lacking dark spots or margins entirely, giving us some ID problems unless we netted them to distinguish from West Virginia white (which isn’t known to occur there) and falcate orange-tip females.  At final count I’d netted 31 of these critters for confirmation; all but three — female falcate orange-tips — were cabbage whites.  The list below uses NABA codes of C for common (10 or more) and S for superabundant (more than 100).  We also had one (and possibly two) very orange sulphur fly-bys that we believe could have been sleepy sulphurs.

Pipevine Swallowtail    Battus philenor Adult   10  FOY Rick
Zebra Swallowtail       Eurytides marcellus     Adult   5 FOY Fran
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail       Papilio glaucus Adult   5
Spicebush Swallowtail   Papilio troilus Adult   1       seen by Tom Stock only
Cabbage White   Pieris rapae    Adult   S       easily the most common butterfly in the area; early spring brood is very small, suffused with yellow on the underside, and often lacks dark wing spots
Falcate Orangetip       Anthocharis midea       Adult   7    (4 males, 3 females)
Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice        Adult   C
Orange Sulphur  Colias eurytheme        Adult   C
Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus Adult   2       1 seen by Tom Stock only, 1 by all in the party FOY for all
Eastern Tailed-Blue  Everes comyntas Adult   C
Spring Azure  Celastrina ladon        Adult   1
Silvery Blue   Glaupsyche lygdamus  Adult 1 seen by Tom and Rick only
Variegated Fritillary   Euptoieta claudia       Adult   C surprisingly common FOY for all
Question Mark   Polygonia interrogationis       Adult   1      plus 2 unidentified Polygonias in flight
American Lady   Vanessa virginiensis    Adult   9
Red Admiral     Vanessa atalanta        Adult   1  FOY for all
Silver-spotted Skipper  Epargyreus clarus       Adult   1       FOY for Rick and Fran
Dreamy Duskywing        Erynnis icelus  Adult   C  FOY for all
Sleepy Duskywing        Erynnis brizo   Adult   3  FOY for Rick
Juvenal’s Duskywing     Erynnis juvenalis       Adult   C
Wild Indigo Duskywing   Erynnis baptisiae       Adult   2       one seen by Tom Stock only, one seen by all in the party FOY for Rick and Tom
Cobweb Skipper  Hesperia metea  Adult   C       Very common in broomsedge fields with bluestem host plants  FOY for all and best flight any of us can recall

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