Give or take, Maryland is home to about 150 species of butterflies and skippers. Sounds like a pretty decent-sized list, right? But take away the species that have been extirpated from their current range in the state (like Regal Fritillary), those who are very restricted to extremely rare habitats (Mulberry Wing, Bog Copper), and the many of the 150 that are accidental, wanderers, or strays from their normal range, and you chop into that 150 pretty substantially.
Nevertheless, a couple of us have decided to launch Butterfly Big Years in 2013 to log 100 or more species in Maryland. This is just at the edges of do-able, we think — and will take some fancy footwork working remote corners of the state, spending as much time as possible in the field this season, and scouring databases and reference works for more clues about when and where to find difficult species.
It’ll also take a lot of teamwork, *and* a lot of friendly competition!
UPDATE MAY 2 — Finally scored Olympia Marble, so feeling better about not missing this critical early brooded rarity.
UPDATE MAY 28 — Beat my goal of 50 by June 1 with a couple of early Indian Skippers and Hobomok Skippers at Frederick Municipal Watershed Forest over the long weekend. And I have Cobweb Skipper, another early season univoltine rarity. But my sojourn out to Garrett Co. was too late for West Virginia White, and I didn’t find Hoary Elfin so I may have missed these for 2013.
UPDATE June 15 — Broke 80 today with an exceptional day with Beth and Tom at Eastern Neck NWR in Rock Hall. Best bugs were Coral Hairstreak and Delaware Skipper.
UPDATE June 16 — Tom broke 80 today with Painted Lady (which I haven’t got yet myself!) at the National Arboretum.
UPDATE July 14 — A Checkered White at the US National Arboretum following a great two days in Allegany and Garrett Counties gave me #97. Three more to go!!!
UPDATE July 21 — Given success yesterday and today with two more FOYs (Dion Skipper and Clouded Skipper), I’m just ONE SPECIES AWAY from 100. Could be Painted Lady, Giant Swallowtail, Little Yellow …
UPDATE July 27 — MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!! Pushed through the goal of 100 yesterday with King’s Hairstreak and then #101 with Palamedes Swallowtail. Huzzah!
UPDATE Sept. 7 — Tom Stock joined the century club today with his 100th species, Leonard’s Skipper, at Soldiers Delight.
UPDATE Sept. 29 — I’m now at #105 with addition yesterday of my lifer Bronze Copper in the company of Tom and Beth in Worcester Co.