We started day 2 of our cross-Maryland adventure at my place in College Park. The three of us — me, Tom, Beth — got an early start (for us) of a little after 8 am, with our first destination the Maryland-Delaware border near DelMar in Wicomico Co to find King’s Hairstreak where Tom and I had seen it last year.
As we drove down, dreary skies parted and revealed a picture-perfect day — if a bit humid — for butterflies. But it didn’t seem to suit the King’s, which are probably not yet flying. We did see prodigious numbers of Zebra Swallowtails but little else in this swampy corner of Maryland.
Backtracking to Dorchester Co, we popped over into Delaware for a few miles and inspected some roadside common milkweed. One small stand of a dozen or so plants held no fewer than TEN Coral Hairstreaks, in addition to more Zebra Swallowtails.
But this profusion was very much the exception. Hundreds of dogbane and common milkweed en route to normally productive areas south of Blackwater NWR held no leps whatsoever, and that butterfly drought continued even along Steele Neck and New Bridge Roads. Buttonbush in flower at the public landing on New Bridge did, however, give Tom and Beth their FOY Great Purple Hairstreak.
It was DeCoursey Bridge Road that saved us. While the roadside had been trimmed as effectively as most of the road edges in Dorchester Co (most of the road sides, which just last week had sported a good stand of red and white clovers, where reduced to golf course sterility), a profusion of buttonbush was in full bloom in the swamp crossing on DeCoursey. The first one out of the car gave us all FOY Rare Skipper and dozens and dozens of Broad-winged Skippers. Willows along the road provided Tom’s FOY Viceroy. We were officially back in the MD100 business!
As we sat back in the car, one of our party (who shall remain nameless to protect his dignity) was reduced to shouting “LOOK LOOK” and gesticulating wildly, and was momentarily incapable of providing more specific directions. Fortunately the source of the outburst — a FOY Cloudless Sulphur for all of us — was conspicuous enough that the other two of us quickly picked it up. This species has not been flying yet in most of Maryland, although we’ve been on the lookout for it.
So that’s the two-day trip report — I’m at 91 for MD100; Tom is at 89, and we both have vowed to take a break for the next couple of days!
June 29, 2013: Delmarva
1. Chesapeake Forest – Nelson Road, Wicomico County, Maryland
Zebra Swallowtail (common)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (1)
Spicebush Swallowtail (1)
Cabbage White (2)
Summer Azure (several)
2. Intersection of Bethel and Nelson Roads, Sussex County, Delaware
Zebra Swallowtail (12)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (1)
Spicebush Swallowtail (2)
Coral Hairstreak (10)
Variegated Fritillary (2)
American Lady (1)
Silver-spotted Skipper (1)
Common Sootywing (1)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (5)
Cabbage White (several)
Orange Sulphur (9)
Cloudless Sulphur (1) Decoursey Bridge Road
Great Purple Hairstreak (1) New Bridge
Eastern Tailed Blue (common)
Summer Azure (common)
Pearl Crescent (8)
Red Admiral (1)
Common Buckeye (4)
Viceroy (1) Decoursey Bridge Rd. – FOY
Silver-spotted Skipper (6)
Rare Skipper (1) Decoursey Bridge Road – FOY
Broad-winged Skipper (abundant along Decoursey Bridge Rd.)