Green Ridge SF Annual Count 2021

“Metalmark Alley” in Green Ridge State Forest

Final 2021 Summer Count Tally:

Region 17
Mid-Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, VA)

Carolyn Henly and Rick Cheicante, Regional Editors
1. Green Ridge State Forest, MD. Yr. 1, 39.6761°, -78.3447°, center at intersection of Harry Norris Road and Swain Hollow Road in Green Ridge State Forest, Allegany County. Elevation: 567-1158 ft. Includes Eastern portion of Green Ridge State Forest bounded to the west by Big Ridge Road; Billmeyer WMA; Sideling Hill WMA; southern arm of PA State Game Lands 128; C&O Canal. Managed pine and deciduous forest; successional forest; riverine flood plain; shale barrens; high elevation ridges and meadows. Uses of land: Primarily forestry and wildlife management. Imminent threats to habitat: Since most of the count circle lies within a forest managed primarily for timber production, spraying for forest pests (incl. Lymatria), logging and clearcutting present the most obvious concerns. But the underlying geology is shale barrens, and given fire suppression most of the available shale barren habitat is rapidly being covered over by tree canopy, a clear danger for the Northern Metalmarks. There is also a pernicious mowing regime that decimates the shoulders of the major roads through the State Forest, including vertical blades that remove nectar resources even from steep roadside shale outcrops. 10 July 2021; 0830-1700 hrs; sun AM 51-75%, PM 51-75%; 68-86°F; wind 0-5 mi/hr. 16 observers in 9 parties. Total party-hours 62; total party-miles on foot 37. Observers: K. Barylski, Rick Borchelt (4602 Drexel Road, College Park, MD, 20740;, J. Brighton, J. Cagle, R. Cheicante, D. Czaplak, T. Feild, D. Fravel, L. Fravel, W. Gould, J. Moore, M. Orsie, T. Reichard, T. Stock, B. Taylor, M. Taylor.
Species Observed: Pipevine Swallowtail 16, Zebra Sw. 10, Black Sw. 2, E. Tiger Sw. 41, Spicebush Sw. 16, Cabbage White 124, Clouded Sulphur 7, Orange Su. 33, Sleepy Orange 1, Harvester 4, Am. Copper 5, Coral Hairstreak 2, Banded Ha. 1, Juniper Ha. 11, Gray Ha. 3, E. Tailed-Blue 184, ‘Summer’ Spring Azure 4, 1N. Metalmark 201, Variegated Fritillary 1, Gr. Spangled Fr. 77, Pearl Crescent 333, Question Mark 4, E. Comma 4, Mourning Cloak 4, Am. Lady 4, Red Admiral 5, Red-spotted Purple 18, Tawny Emperor 1, N. Pearly-eye 12, Appalachian Brown 3, Little Wood-Satyr 59, Com. Wood-Nymph 45, Monarch 4, Silver-spotted Skipper 322, Hoary Edge 2, Horace’s Duskywing 3, Wild Indigo Du. 18, Fiery Sk. 1, Crossline Sk. 3, N. Broken-Dash 29, Little Glassywing 81, Sachem 10, Delaware Sk. 7, Dun Sk. 25. Total 44 species, 1740 individuals. Field Notes: 1reassuringly high count for this target species.


Yes, we’re on.  Should be glorious weather, there’s been some rain in GRSF so there are puddles and the dust is damped down, and best of all, the Northern Metalmarks are at peak flight.  Even at 7:30 pm the woodland sunflowers along Metalmark Alley (Swain Hollow Road) were hanging with metalmarks.  At the prime hotspot — the largest pulloff on Swain Hollow — I had almost 20 in under 10 minutes.  So I can pretty much guarantee everyone who wants to will get a chance to see metalmarks tomorrow.  

Having said that, the mowing regime as noted before means the sunflower and other nectar sources are few and far between.  This may concentrate the butterfly action, but it also makes for more difficult observation. 

Three housekeeping notes:

1.  While the restrooms at the visitor center/state forest headquarters were open over Memorial Day and the July 4 weekend, they are closed again and won’t be open tomorrow.  We’re still going to meet there (Exit 64, MV Smith Road, follow the signs for Scenic Overlook) at 8 am, but you’d be advised to stop at the Oak Barrel on the way (restrooms are to the left in back behind the beverage cases).  If you arrive there early there may still be moths and nocturnal insects on the outside walls.

2.  Tally rally will be at Buddy Lou’s restaurant in Hancock MD at 6:30; reservations will be in my name.  We’ll be on the veranda.  Address is 11 E Main St, Hancock, MD 21750.  

3. Reminder that my phone number is 202.812.7101; because of drops in cell signal text is usually better than voice.  

Look forward to seeing everyone in the morning!

Welcome to the resources page for the NABA Annual Count for the Green Ridge State Forest and environs. Here you’ll find everything you need to be a sector leader or participant in our count in July! I’ll be updating this page regularly as we get closer to the date.

Dates: Saturday July 10, 2021 (rain date July 11, 2021)

Tom Stock and I are happy to welcome you to the first (annual, we hope!) North American Butterfly Association official count for Green Ridge State Forest (MD, with parts of WV and PA).

The GRSF Count is open to participants of all skill levels. Many of the sectors are also easily accessible for first-time or less experienced observers.

Most of your questions will be answered in the presentation I prepared for the Natural History Society of Maryland, attached here as a PDF:

General Instructions/Guidelines

Ages 12+ please

Unless you are covering a sector solo, please leaves pets at home (and remember most of the areas we cover have leash laws)

MDLOG will be paying your NABA participation fee

Counters will gather at 8 am at the GRSF Visitor Center and then deploy to sectors for the morning counts at 8:30. We’ll wrap up by 6 back at the Visitor Center with a tally rally at 7 pm in a nearby venue.

Sectors and Sector Leaders:

•Metalmark Alley/Swain Hollow Road/Yonkers Road (Leader: AM Jeff Cagle) + 2 participants; repeats in the PM with Leader Jim Moore.

•Cliff Road (Leaders: AM Rick Borchelt, Tom Stock)

•Hoop Pole Road (Leader: AM Walt Gould)

•Fifteen Mile Creek Aqueduct (Leader: AM Kathy Barylski + 2 participants)

•Pearre Road (Leader: Rick Cheicante)

•Billmeyer WMA (Leader: Rick Borchelt, Tom Stock)

•Town Creek Aqueduct (Leader: Jim Moore)

•Eidolon Nature Preserve (WV) (Leader AM Matt Orsie)

•State Game Lands 49 (PA) (Leader PM Matt Orsie)

•Fifteen Mile Creek circuit north of I-68 (Leader: Jeff Cagle)

•Fifteen Mile Creek circuit south of I-68 (Leader: PM Walt Gould)

•Mertens/Kasecamp (Sector Leader: AM or PM, Tim Reichard)

•Sideling Hill WMA (Leaders: PM Jim Brighton, Tom Feild) [nb: no participants on this sector]

•Sideling Hill Preserve Bryant Tract (Leaders: AM Jim Brighton, Tom Feild) [nb: no participants on this sector]