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The First annual Weymouth Woods Preserve in Moore Co., NC hairstreak count took place on Saturday, June 3. Tom Howard and I, along with a group of four from the Durham/Chapel Hill area (Randy Emmitt, Will Cook, Judy Murray, and Ginger Travis), covered the Weymouth and Paint Hill tracts.
The purpose of the count was mainly to note the locations of the hairstreaks to help plan the prescribed burns. (Parks staff does not want to completely burn the entire habitat of any species, but burn just a portion of the habitat, leaving unburned areas available for colonization.) Actually, the burning at Weymouth has greatly increased the population of New Jersey tea, which is the primary nectar plant in late May and early June for butterflies at the park. Here are the grand totals of hairstreaks for the day:
46 Edwards’ Hairstreak (state record count)
28 Coral Hairstreak (state record count)
12 Banded Hairstreak (one was dead — spider web victim)
5 King’s Hairstreak
8 Gray Hairstreak
Nearly all were nectaring on New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus). A few were seen perched on leaves, especially on sourwood. The sourwood was not quite in bloom. In a week or two, it will be a good nectar source, but scanning the blooms of it are MUCH more difficult than the easy scanning of the 1-foot tall New Jersey Tea. The King’s is normally the last of the group to emerge, and we think the low number is simply just the front end of the flight period. Hopefully, all of the above hairstreaks will still be flying this weekend, when the Carolina Butterfly Society meets to look for hairstreaks, etc. The rare Striped might be finished with its flight; it has been found a few times at the park.
2 Palamedes Swallowtail
3 Spicebush Swallowtail
5 E. Tiger Swallowtail number
3 Summer Azure
10 Eastern Tailed-Blue
1 American Lady
3 Common Buckeye
2 Silver-spotted Skipper
1 Southern Cloudywing
3 Horace’s Duskywing
1 Crossline Skipper
1 Southern Broken-Dash