I made a (possibly ill-advised, given the heat and humidity today) last-minute decision to head down to Dorchester Co and the Blackwater NWR area after a morning of medical tests as part of a clinical trial. Left at 10:30 and was in the field along Key Wallace Drive by 12:30, just ahead of the Refuge guys mowing the stands of dogbane and red clover to stubble. This was the preferred location for one of my target species of the day, Bronze Copper, but despite diligent searching along the byways of Dorchester County came up empty. While I was at Blackwater, though, I did find dozens of Black Swallowtails and a dozen or so FOY Common Wood Nymphs (MD100 #83] in the milkweed fields across from the entrance pay station. Broad-winged Skippers were also common in the field.
I headed from the refuge visitor center down through Bestpitch in search of targets #2 and #3: Great Purple Hairstreak and Dion Skipper. Dion eluded me, although I found Aaron’s Skipper in a couple of locations. At Newbridge Road Public Landing, however, in a dogbane patch along the woods bordering a wheat field, I found a very large, very fresh Great Purple Hairstreak — MD100 #84 and state life list entry for me.
On the way back home I stopped at Linkwood WMA between Cambridge and Vienna right of Route 50. There’s a long field full of dogbane along the entrance drive, and this productive field gave me a second Great Purple Hairstreak, as well as a White M, Snout, and Common Buckeyes.