2017 Field Trips & Counts

Once again, for 2017, I’ll be attempting to compile a mid-Atlantic-wide calendar of counts, field trips, walks, and other lep-related field activities for the upcoming flight season.  Please use the comment form below to let us know of additions or changes to the list, or email me at MDLepsOdes@gmail.com.

In addition to posted field trips, members of the MDLepsOdes Group (MDLOG) often plan impromptu “Lep Treks” when interesting butterflies or habitats pique our interest.  While most of these will be day trips originating from the DC area, some of them might be overnights to areas like Dolly Sods WV or Buzzard Swamp PA.  Unless otherwise noted, LepTreks are free although some of the areas we visit may charge an admission fee.  Overnight lodging and meals of course are on your own.

The philosophy behind our LepTreks is that we lack a strong field trip program in the mid-Atlantic region, despite some very savvy lepsters interested in spending more time in the field.  As a group we’re field naturalists committed to better understanding some of the unique environments and landscapes in the mid-Atlantic and the butterflies and other invertebrates they support.  Generally, they’re places that normally don’t have scheduled butterfly walks during the summer, nor are they easy quick checks for a last-minute drive by.  I’ll add notices here on LepLog of those kinds of easier trips, too, but the LepTreks generally are a little more ambitious, or explore unique habitats.

If you’d like to volunteer to organize any of these trips, or plan a trip to one of your favorite places, email me at MDLepsOdes@gmail.com.   Check back regularly for updates!  And if you’re leading or know of dates for other lep-related activities, be sure to let me know.

LepTreks are informal affairs, usually impromptu walks or hunts for a particular species or in a particular unusual habitat.  They’re rather loosely organized by the person whose idea the trip is in the first place and may be more difficult terrain or access, or are a trip one of our members is making and for which s/he would be glad of company.  If you’re going to be out in the field on short notice, let us know so we can tag along!

Rules of the road: These aren’t collecting trips per se, but unless the regulations of where we are visiting don’t permit them participants are welcome to bring and carry nets for catch-and-release observation or scientific collecting.

Rain dates:  Unless noted otherwise, we don’t usually do rain dates.

Hours:  Day field trips are typically 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. with a short break for lunch.  Overnight trips usually begin at 10 a.m. Saturdays to allow folks who really don’t want to spend two nights on the road to drive out early that morning.  Participants are welcome to join one or both days, and there will usually be a group dinner on Saturday night and breakfast Sunday morning.  Participants are responsible for arranging their own overnight accommodations, although we can facilitate both shared hotel rooms and carpools here or through the various area listservs.

The field season usually begins in April (but a warm weekend in March might see us out looking for anglewings!) and ends in October (although 2016 had sulphurs, whites, and skippers flying well into December). And our gang could show up anywhere within 4-5 hours’ drive; the calendar contains listings from throughout the mid-Atlantic.  Events in NJ, WV, PA, DE, MD, VA & NC are all welcome.

Check back here regularly during 2017 as events are always being added, modified, or deleted.

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JUN 2 [Refuge Program] MD: Laurel.  Spring Moths at the Patuxent Research Refuge.  8-11 pm. Witness the dazzling array of late spring moth species up close and after
dark! Visitors can peruse multiple blacklight stations positioned around
the Visitor Contact Station at the North Tract to see the diverse moth
species in open and woodland habitats. Bring a camera to photograph these
nighttime marvels and a flashlight to see your way around toads and other
active nocturnal critters. Visitors will need to meet at the North Tract
gate at 8 pm for entry into the program. Ages 8+, registration required CONTACT:  301-497-5887

JUN 4 [Refuge Program] MD: Laurel.  Butterflies: Nature’s Festival of Colors.  9-11 am, North Tract.  Discover the role that butterflies play in pollinating and learn to identify several common to Maryland on this guided 2.0-mile, 2-hour hike. Field guide recommended. Bring water and dress for the outdoors. Ages 16+, registration required.  CONTACT:  301-497-5887

JUN 17 [NABA Count] MD:  Western Montgomery Co.  28th Annual.  CONTACT: Stephanie Mason, stephanie.mason@anshome.org

JUN 24 [NABA Count] MD:  ACAS (Eastern Frederick and western Carroll counties). 22nd Annual. Meet at the Audrey Carroll Sanctuary at 9 a.m.  CONTACT: David Smith, lacsmith12@comcast.net

JUN 30 [NABA Count] VA:  Island Ford (eastern Rockingham County).  Rain date July 1.  CONTACT:  Mike Smith, foresmiths@verizon.net

JUL 1 [NABA Count] VA:  Maidens.  We usually leave from our house around 9 a.m.  CONTACT:  cphenly@comcast.net.

JUL 7 [NABA Count] VA:  Shenandoah National Park.  Rain date July 8.  CONTACT:  Mike Smith, foresmiths@verizon.net.

JULY 29 [NABA Count] VA: Airlie.  Saturday, July 29th from 8 am until 4 pm. (Rain date: Sunday, July 30th) Environmental Studies on the Piedmont (ES), 6712 Blantyre Road, Warrenton, Virginia. Bring your bag lunch and we will happily store refrigerated items at the farmhouse. Teams will move to the field by 8:30 am and return to the farmhouse at 12:30 for lunch. Afternoon surveys will resume from 1 pm until 4pm. CONTACT and RSVP: sgarvin@envstudies.org Please indicate if you are available morning or afternoon or both for the count day.

AUG 5 [NABA Count] VA: Loudoun County. Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s Central Loudoun Butterfly Count.  Details and signup are here: http://www.loudounwildlife.org/Butterfly_Count.htm