WABC members were guests of the Maryland Native Plant Society field trip organizers on a visit Sunday (May 20) to Piney Orchard Natural Area, a privately held wetland restoration area in Odenton, Anne Arundel Co., Maryland. For many of us this was our first trip to this richly varied and quite interesting area.
While the weather was mostly cooperative, there were long periods of fairly heavy cloud cover that kept the numbers of butterflies down. But there were several FOS for me and for many others, including swarthy skipper, little glassywing, and northern cloudywing. Most of the early spring duskywings seem to have disappeared for the season, but a new brood of azures is on the wing. Swallowtails were scare except for zebras (there is abundant pawpaw in the reserve). Dogbane and other nectar sources look to be on schedule for blooming in the next two weeks, when one could probably expect a number of the larger nymphalids — such as fritillaries — to be present. The abundant willow augurs well for viceroy, too.
After most of the rest of the troop had left at the scheduled end time of 1:30, a couple of us diehards continued exploring Piney Orchard, puzzling for quite a while over the cloudywing before assigning it to northern cloudywing (but other opinions are welcome on the picture above}. Spurred on by trip co-leader Beth Johnson, we also noted a couple of very nice odes, including lilypad forktail, painted skimmer, azure bluet, and Carolina saddlebags. A nice bonus was a very cooperative Eastern fence lizard posing along the trail near the parking lot. Piney Orchard will bear much closer examination as a prime lep and ode destination.
Full list: (where “c” is the NABA/BIS code for common, 10+)
-==| Field Trip |==-
Number of Species: 17
Number of Individuals: 86
Piney Orchard Natural Area
MD , USA
Notes: Washington Area Butterfly Club field trip in partnership with Maryland Native Plant Society. In the field 1000-1600 hours along Wolf Trail, Heron Loop, and Fox Den Loop. Mostly sunny with high overcast, temperatures in mid-70s. Few nectar sources: blackberry, dewberry, white clover.
Common Name Scientific Name Life Stage Number Seen Notes
Zebra Swallowtail Eurytides marcellus Adult C
Cabbage White Pieris rapae Adult C
Orange Sulphur Colias eurytheme Adult 4
Red-banded Hairstreak Calycopis cecrops Adult 2
‘Summer’ Spring Azure Celastrina ladon neglecta Adult C
Variegated Fritillary Euptoieta claudia Adult 1
Question Mark Polygonia interrogationis Adult 2
American Lady Vanessa virginiensis Adult C
Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax Adult 3
Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus Adult 1
Northern Cloudywing Thorybes pylades Adult 1
Swarthy Skipper Nastra lherminier Adult 1
Least Skipper Ancyloxypha numitor Adult 5
Southern Broken-Dash Wallengrenia otho Adult 1
Little Glassywing Pompeius verna Adult 1
Hobomok Skipper Poanes hobomok Adult 1
Zabulon Skipper Poanes zabulon Adult C