Garrett Co ANS Trip 2014

This is a resource page for participants in the July 2014 ANS trip described below.  The trip is full and waitlisted at this time.

Special ANS Field Trip

Northern Metalmark

Bog Copper

Western Maryland Bogs, Butterflies, and Birds
Saturday, July 19, 1 pmMonday, July 21, 3 pm
Leader: Rick Borchelt
Members $80; nonmembers $112

Join Rick Borchelt, broad-based naturalist and butterfly specialist, on an exploration of bogs and fens in Garrett County to search for butterflies, birds, plants and other biota normally found in the far north.  Remnants of a Pleistocene-era ecosystem, scattered bogs in western Maryland persist from an environment much colder and wetter than today.  Formed at the very southern limit of the great ice sheets, many of these bogs and fens occur in “frost pockets” in the mountains, where temperatures stay well below that of the surrounding county.  These cold, wet conditions favor acidic montane peatlands supporting plants better known as northwoods flora – larch, red spruce, creeping snowberry, and small cranberry among them.

With the town of Frostburg as our staging area, we will explore Finzel Swamp and Cranesville Swamp, both Nature Conservancy preserves, searching for butterflies seldom encountered elsewhere in the state, including Bog Copper, Silver-bordered Fritillary, Black Dash, Gray Comma, and Aphrodite and Atlantis Fritillaries. Both areas support a locally unique bird fauna as well, including nesting Alder Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Black-capped Chickadee, Ruffed Grouse, and Northern Waterthrush.  Our trip ends with a return to the DC Metro Area on Monday, by way of Green Ridge State Forest in Allegany County, in search of the only significant population of Northern Metalmarks in the state, and possibilities for Giant Swallowtail and Hoary Edge skipper.   

Both Garrett County preserves will be explored from a system of easy trails and boardwalks.  Our trip convenes on Saturday afternoon at Finzel Swamp for a leisurely exploration before returning to Frostburg for dinner on your own.  There is a possibility of a post-dinner excursion back to Finzel for an after-dark prowl along a short part of the trail system.  Early Sunday morning, all are welcome to join the leader for a short trek to a nearby habitat that harbors both Henslow’s Sparrows and Golden-winged Warblers, followed by breakfast back in Frostburg.  After breakfast, the group will caravan west to the state line to visit Cranesville Swamp, before returning to Frostburg by way of back roads where milkweed and other nectar sources can be checked for  butterflies.  On Monday, the group will leave Frostburg and head east with a mid-morning meeting at the Green Ridge State Forest visitor center. The group will carpool until around 3 pm through the Park’s roadside habitat favored by the metalmarks, which feed on round-leaved ragwort, a shale-barren specialist.   

Fee covers leadership only.  Participants will make their own lodging arrangements in the Frostburg, MD area.  Travel to western Maryland is by private vehicle, but ANS will share contact information with those who are interested in carpooling.  As a point of reference,  Finzel Swamp is about a 2.5 hour drive from ANS’s Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase.



Stephanie Mason
Senior Naturalist










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