2017 Aug 19 Field Trip to National Arboretum and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens


Fresh Dion Skipper in DC in Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens [2017 Aug 19; photo by Judy Gallagher]

The participants in Saturday’s 5-hour field trip covering DC’s US National Arboretum and Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens bested by three species our goal of 30 for the day, scoring one very unusual sighting (Palamedes Swallowtail) and missing a couple of expected species (Pipevine Swallowtail, Red-banded Hairstreak, Variegated Fritillary, Common Checkered-skipper, Viceroy, emperors).  The field trip was part of the ANS Natural History Field Studies program.

Other notable sightings included Ocola Skipper and a Clouded Skipper.  The default for grass skippers was Sachem, often so numerous they obscured other grass skippers flying in the same patch.

If you visit the USNA, be sure to check out the “hidden” milkweed and dogbane patch now in full bloom between the large parking lot at the NY Ave entrance and the old brick charcoal huts.  You need to drive over to the corner of the lot diagonal from the entrance and look down toward the chain-link fence.  Very productive spot.   At KAG the bulk of butterflies are working the lantana beds in the parking lot and at the visitor’s center, but the Dions and Broadwings are on pickerel weed and purple loosestrife in the small ponds near the huge Victoria amazonica waterlilies, and out along the boardwalk.

Zebra Swallowtail (2) KAG

Black Swallowtail (2)  KAG

Spicebush Swallowtail (15) KAG & USNA

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (9) KAG & USNA (all yellow form)

Palamedes Swallowtail (1) KAG (VERY UNUSUAL SIGHTING, stray vagrant to DC)

Small (Cabbage) White (6) KAG & USNA

Orange Sulphur (1) USNA

Cloudless Sulphur (6) USNA

Sleepy Orange (2) USNA

Gray Hairstreak (5) USNA & KAG

Eastern Tailed-blue (27) USNA & KAG (very few)

Summer Azure (2) USNA

Pearl Crescent (2) USNA

Question Mark (1) KAG (last sighting of the day on the way back to the car)

Painted Lady (6) USNA & KAG

Red Admiral (1) KAG

Common Buckeye (13) USNA & KAG (all summer form, no rosa morphs)

Red-spotted Purple (1) KAG

Monarch (30+) USNA & KAG (terrific numbers)

Silver-spotted Skipper (10) USNA & KAG

Horace’s Duskywing (1) KAG (very fresh)

Clouded Skipper (1) KAG (only the leader got on this one well enough to ID)

Least Skipper (17) USNA & KAG

Fiery Skipper (6) USNA & KAG (likely an undercount as they were mixed in with swarms of Sachems)

Peck’s Skipper (1) USNA

Tawny-edged Skipper (2) USNA

Northern Broken-dash (3) USNA & KAG

Sachem (200+) USNA & KAG (a very conservative estimate)

Zabulon Skipper (5) USNA & KAG

Broad-winged Skipper (2) KAG

Dion Skipper (3) KAG

Dun Skipper (3) USNA & KAG

Ocola Skipper (1) KAG

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