Trip Reports – 2001

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Sandhills Gamelands “Winter Trip” March 17, 2001

Here are the results of the Carolina Butterfly Society/carolinaleps listserve
(aka here as CLL) to Weymouth Woods/Paint Hill and the Sandhills Game
Land on Saturday, March 17. The weather was partly cloudy, with mild temps
— with a high probably 65-68 degrees. We heard thru the grapevine that
up to 24 people would be showing up, but only 12 did. Nonetheless, 12
is a good number for a trip, as we got everyone into 4 vehicles. This
was partly a CBS trip, but as it was promoted mainly over carolinaleps,
I think CLL should get most of the credit!

We stopped first at Paint Hill to look for the Brown Elfins, and we weren’t
disappointed. But, we only had one other butterfly there. This is a rather
poor butterfly site, and it’s mostly good for Brown Elfins now, and some
hairstreaks in early June.

We then traveled to the Richmond County portion of the Game Land, and
worked a road north of the prison, through the field trial area. We hit
some wet spots/seepages near creeks, but spent more time working over
Chickasaw Plums growing in thickets in the full sun in the fields. Though
there were relatively few butterflies on the plums, they were just about
the only nectar source there. We finished up checking a few floodplains
along Thunder Road in southern Moore County. For the day, we had a singing
Bachman’s Sparrow, a very few dragonflies –a Blue Corporal and first
for everyone on the trip a Stripe-winged Baskettail, first IDed as a Uhlers
Sundragon.

All in all, except for the 18 species of butterflies, it was still “winter”
in the Sandhills, with no new spring birds, no herps other than a Fence
Lizard, and hardly any dragonflies. But, we were rewarded with both a
Great Purple Hairstreak and a White-M Hairstreak nectaring on the plums
— but too high and too far in to see at eye level and to poke to see
the blue on the upper wings. But, we got long studies of their underwings.
And, we had a few more Brown Elfins at the Game Land, including two on
the plums, far from woods! We added one new county record — the American
Snout for Richmond County. I had never seen Brown Elfin in the Game Lands
before, but admittedly I have seldom if ever looked for butterflies there
until about April 10 (when the Browns are finished flying for the year.)

Here is the combined butterfly list of 18 species for Richmond and Moore
counties.

Dark swallowtail (not E. Tiger) 1
E. Tiger Swallowtail 7
Falcate Orangetip 2
Orange Sulphur 1
Sleepy Orange 4
Great Purple Hairstreak 1
White-M Hairstreak 1
Brown Elfin 12
Gray Hairstreak 3
Spring (Edwards’) Azure 7
E. Tailed-Blue 1
American Snout 1
Variegated Fritillary 14 including a pair in copulation!
Question Mark 3
Eastern Comma 4
American Lady 5
Silver-spotted Skipper 1
Juvenal’s Duskywing 10

Harry LeGrand

Occoneechee State Preserve Trip March 24, 2001

This trip was just a small field trip that just came together not a CBS
trip.We met at 1 PM along Eno Mountain Road next to the Eno River. The
weather was bright and in the 70s, couldn`t be beat for a first weekend
of spring butterfly trip. Just about 4 PM clouds moved in just as we were
leaving.

All seven adults and one child were amazed at the courtship flights going
on when we found the Brown Elfins. At one point I counted 8 elfins either
in the air in courtship, mating or perched. We even saw one courtship
flight end in mating! Both myself and Roger Rittmaster took photos of
the mated pair on Mountain Laurels. In all we found 15 Brown Elfins in
4 places on the Brown Elfin Knob Trail.

The gravel road to the top of the mountain was busy with Eastern Tiger
Swallowtails, Edward`s Spring Azures, Eastern Commas, Mourning Cloaks
and Juvenal`s Duskywings. The Sleepy Duskywings were a new early record
for North Carolina.

Here`s the list of what we saw:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 10 Spicebush Swallowtail 1
Falcate Orangetip 8
Orange Sulphur 1
Clouded/orange Sulphur 4
Brown Elfin 15
Spring{Edwards}Azure 25
Question Mark 1
Eastern Comma 6
Anglewing species 4
Mourning Cloak 14
American Lady 1
Sleepy Duskywing 3
Juvenal`s Duskywing 10

Randy Emmitt

Sandhills Butterfly Trip April 14, 2001

Folks:
Only a meager 5 folks took part on the Sandhills butterfly trip on Saturday,
April 14. I didn’t get much word out, though it had been announced on
the CBS web site for a month. At any rate, the weather was great, but
the winter drought in the Sandhills has caused a drop in the water table.
That means — few seepage coming out on slopes and along roads leading
down to creeks. And, Bog Hole continues to be dry. You wouldn’t know about
this problem if you just looked at the lakes and creeks — they are at
normal pool, but the water table is in dire straights, as the only seepage
we saw was alongside the annual burn on Scotland Lane. It was a good trip,
but had everyone seen a certain butterfly late in the day at Pinebluff
Lake, it would have been great!

Here is the list, with Moore County (Pinebluff Lake) first, then Scotland
(Sandhills Game Land):

Zebra Swallowtail 0,1
Spicebush Swallowtail 2,4
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 5,8
Palamedes Swallowtail 1,1
Falcate Orangetip 1,0 female
HESSEL’S HAIRSTREAK 1,0 fresh, landed on a sapling white cedar, but only
I got onto it. We saw none during our late morning visit, and this one
around 3:30. Mid to late afternoon is best for them. They are difficult
to find, in part because once disturbed, they frequently fly high and
land up in the cedars, where they spend most of the day. They drop down
to nectar, most often after 3 pm, but from time to time earlier in the
day. Had this one been nectaring (there was sweetleaf and highbush blueberry
in bloom), we all might have seen it. I’ve had them before here in the
second brood, in late July, but this was the first time I’ve tried for
it in spring. Lots of sweet pepperbush blooms in July next to the cedars.
Gray Hairstreak 0,1
Henry’s Elfin 2,0 at Pinebluff Lake, getting us excited that they might
be Hessel’s!
Azure (believed to be Edwards’ Spring) 4,10 All seemed quite small, some
the size of ETB; all had dirty gray undersides. None were really whitish
below, with small black dots. None were moderate sized either, so I feel
pretty good they weren’t Holly or Summer azures. But — I would have though
that Edwards’ might be nearing the end of its single brood, assuming that
it has just one brood.
E. Tailed-Blue 0,8 Some very tiny!
Pearl Crescent 1,3
Mourning Cloak 0,1 I don’t see it often in the sandhills Red Admiral 0,1 our first of the season
Carolina Satyr 0,1
Silver-spotted Skipper 3,6
cloudywings 0,7 We saw the entire gamut, from absolutely no white spots
anywhere (Northern) to large squared bars (Southern). As I mention every
year, the spring broods of these things are brutally difficult to ID,
and we are guessing on most of them. The second broods in summer DO look
more like the field guides. Here is our best guess:
Northern Cloudywing 0,2
Southern Cloudywing 0,4
Confused Cloudywing 0,1
Juvenal’s Duskywing 25,40 I still haven’t seen a for-sure Horace’s this spring
Sleepy Duskywing 2, 18 lots more than I usually see
Wild Indigo Duskywing 0,1 seen only by Derb Carter Zarucco Duskywing 0,1 fresh male
REVERSED ROADSIDE-SKIPPER 0,1 the trip highlight; scarce and a good find;
it was perched on Scotland Lane among lots of duskywings and cloudywings,
and was so tame it allowed Derb to pick it up for viewing on his fingertip!
Yucca Giant-Skipper 0,11 the colony at the usual spot near Scotland Lane.
Always puts on a good show for us!

We spent a lot of time working for Frosted Elfin. The lupine is mostly
not yet in bloom, though some were flowering. This seems like a decent
year for the plants, after last year’s dismal showing (for reasons unknown
to me). Searching for Frosteds can be a tremendous waste of time, for
there are few butterflies where they occur, and practically none if the
lupine isn’t yet in bloom! We killed about 30 minutes on this one, and
that will be it for me this year, unless some late ones are still around
in early May at the Carolina Bird Club meeting.

Harry LeGrand

Linville Falls/Blue Ridge Parkway April 21,2001

Hi everyone,

Bruce Grimes & I met Will Cook, Randy Emmitt, Lillian McElrath and her
three children and a few other folks to search the fields along the Blue
Ridge Parkway near Linville Falls. When we got there the skies were mostly
overcast, but the clouds were thinning. We were delighted by how quickly
the sun came out and so did the butterflies, though not a lot of variety.
Meadow Fritillaries were the most common species in these fields this
go round, and the most common plant in bloom was dandelions, but there
were also violets, field pansies, and strawberries in flower along with
a few golden ragworts.

I believe the two brown elfins (one seen by Will) were a surprise as neither
was hanging out in the usual haunts, one in a hayfield, and the other
in a sedgy, rushy meadow near a beaver pond. The 2nd one nectared on a
grass like plant that was probably a wood rush (Luzula species).

It was quite a treat to see some butterflies very active as most of my
outings for the year had been rather slow because of weather this spring.
Special thanks to Randy for planning this outing. We didn’t find any Grizzled
Skippers, but the whole trip sure was a joy for me.

Here’s the list of what we saw in the area (Avery County):

2 Pipevine Swallowtail
10 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
2 Cabbage White
3 Clouded Sulphur (studied carefully)
9+ Orange Sulphur
2 Colias albinos that were prob. Orange Sulphurs
1 American Copper (very fresh)
2 Brown Elfins
2 Spring Azure
8 Eastern Tailed-Blue
38+ Meadow Fritillary (one was seen laying an egg near a violet, one nectared
on bluets)
2 American Lady
1 Red Admiral
2 Mourning Cloak
2 Dreamy Duskywing
6 Juvenal’s Duskywing
1 unid. duskywing (Sleepy?)

We also saw an Osprey, and a Broad-winged Hawk, four or more Solitary
Sandpipers at the beaver pond, some tadpoles, a couple of Common Whitetail
Dragonflies, and had some great looks!!!!! at Northern Parula and Black-throated
Green Warblers.

Bruce & I headed north along the Parkway to Moses Cone Park, but saw little
as the skies had become cloudier. We saw one Tiger Swallowtail nectaring
on bluets at Julian Price Park, and at Moses Cone Park: Cabbage White
nectaring on winter cress, one Orange Sulphur, and one jittery, and quick
Spring Azure bobbling through a thicket.

Will Cook and Randy Emmitt also found a West Virginia White nectaring
on Dandelions in Watauga County along the Blue Ridge Parkway just north
of Moses Cone Park.

Best to you all,

Clyde Kessler
Radford, VA

Pilot Mountain State Park April 22, 2001

Randy Emmitt and I did some butterflying on 4/22/01 in Carroll Co., Virginia,
and Pilot Mountain, Surry Co., NC. Butterflying the many dirt roads of
Carroll was very slow, with the vegetation still mostly in winter, though
the temps were in the upper 70s.

We hit Pilot Mountain from about 4:30-6:30 pm. It was very crowded with
people, but also with hilltopping butterflies. Surprises included the
number of Brown Elfin (near a state record, mostly near blooming Vaccinium
spp. (several laying eggs)), an E Pine Elfin (laying eggs on Pitch Pine),
and a Common Roadside-Skipper (on top of the ridge above the parking lot
with many other hilltoppers).

Here`s the butterfliest we found at Pilot Mountain State Park in Surry
County, NC

1 Pipevine Swallowtail
2 E Tiger Swallowtail
2 Falcate Orangetip (New county record)
1 Orange Sulphur
16 Brown Elfin (Largest single colony of 7)
1 E Pine Elfin (New county record)
1 Gray Hairstreak (New county record)
1 Spring (Edward’s) Azure (New county record)
6 Mourning Cloak (New county record)
4 Red Admiral
2 Gemmed Satyr
3 Dreamy Duskywing (New county record)
5 Sleepy Duskywing (New county record)
25 Juvenal’s Duskywing
1 Wild Indigo Duskywing
1 Common Roadside-Skipper (New county record)

Will Cook

Caswell Gamelands (Golden-banded Skipper Hunt) June 02, 2001

The Caswell Gamelands includes a variety of habitats that support a diverse
array of butterfly species. On June 2nd, the Gamelands attracted 9 butterfly
enthusiasts to search for Golden-banded Skippers, a species that is rare
to accidental in North Carolina, and is local and rare throughout its
eastern North America range. The trip did not yield a Golden-banded Skipper,
although Jim Nottke had a brief encounter with a butterfly that could
have been a GBS.

Randy Emmitt and Harry LeGrand served as a guides for the trip. Randy
has spent numerous hours scouting out areas in Caswell Gamelands. His
experience helped make the trip a success. The group visited several different
sites within the gamelands. Our first stop was a gravel road with a nice
margin of wildflowers. That site yielded a Harvester. After giving members
excellent views, including some brief open-winged poses, the Harvester
proceeded to search for salts on Randy Emmitt’s boots. He then traveled
to my boots, and after awhile I was able to coax him onto my index finger
for some photos. The site also gave us excellent looks at a Zebra Swallowtail.
It was very fresh, with long, beautiful tails.

Later we visited a forested upland site with several small pools. Harry
LeGrand described the habitat as quite unusual. There were some stunning
dragonflies patrolling some of the pools, including a Bar-winged Skimmer
and Twelve-spotted Skimmer. This area yielded another Harvester, which
spent a long time perched on Randy Emmitt’s arm. A small light gap near
the gravel road attracted some butterflies, including Mourning Cloaks,
Northern Pearly-eye, and Banded Hairstreaks.

Another upland site (drier, and more open, with lots of pine trees),
included a nice patch of dogbane. This site yielded Eastern Pine Elfin,
and lots of American Lady. Our efforts to check each American Lady were
not rewarded with any sightings of a Painted Lady.

Another road margin yielded the most unusual find for the day, a Mottled
Duskywing. This butterfly was very cooperative and gave excellent looks
to the participants.

Our final site for the afternoon was an area where GBS were observed
last year. We waited until late afternoon, because GBS become active later
in the day than most other species of butterflies. The area included some
nice patches of the hostplant, Hog peanut, but didn’t give us any conclusive
encounters with GBS. Despite not finding GBS, the trip was a success.

The trip provided other memorable experiences

·An immature Red-tailed Hawk that was mobbed (and chased!) by a Blue-gray
Gnatcatcher.

·A Black Rat Snake sparked a debate between Randy Emmitt and Jim Nottke
about whether it was 6 feet long or 4 feet long. Jim settled the debate
by catching the snake. It proved to be 5 feet long!

·Jeff Pippen’s tick-killing pants.

Participants on the trip: Randy Emmitt, Harry LeGrand, Judy Murray, Jim
Nottke, Jeff Pippen, Joe Poston, Roger Rittmaster, Clyde Smith, Ruth Young.

Nevertheless, we had a very successful trip, with a total of 42 species
observed. The list for the day is as follows:

2 Pipevine Swallowtail
1 Zebra Swallowtail
12 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
3 Spicebush Swallowtail
1 Cabbage White
3 Orange Sulphur
2 Sleepy Orange
2 Harvester (very tame individuals that perched on trip member’s boots,
hands, and arms!)
1 Coral Hairstreak
7 Banded Hairstreak
3 Eastern Pine Elfin (1 very fresh)
1 Juniper Hairstreak (very worn; no green at all!)
2 Gray Hairstreak
6 Eastern Tailed-Blue
20 Summer Azure
1 American Snout (Ruth Young saw)
31 Great Spangled Fritillary
5 Pearl Crescent
3 Question Mark
1 Eastern Comma
5 Mourning Cloak
47 American Lady
15 Red Admiral
1 Common Buckeye
4 Red-spotted Purple
4 Hackberry Emperor
5 Northern Pearly-Eye
12 Carolina Satyr
40 Little Wood-Satyr
18 Silver-spotted Skipper
38 Hoary Edge
12 Southern Cloudywing
34 Northern Cloudywing
1 Duskywing sp. (small; very worn wings, long palps, so probably a Dreamy
Duskywing?)
1 Mottled Duskywing! (female)
3 Swarthy Skipper
6 Least Skipper
21 Crossline Skipper
4 Southern Broken-Dash
9 Little Glassywing
9 Zabulon Skipper
3 Dun Skipper

Randy Emmitt compiled the following list of odes that were observed during
the trip:

Epiaeschna heros, Swamp Darner (12)
Gomphus exilis, Lancet Clubtail (1)
Didymops transversa, Stream Cruiser (1)
Epitheca princeps, Prince Baskettail (4)
Celithemis elisa, Calico Pennant (1)
Celithemis fasciata, Banded Pennant (6)
Erythemis simplicicollis, Eastern Pondhawk (2)
Libellula axilena, Bar-winged Skimmer (2)
Libellula cyanea, Spangled Skimmer (12)
Libellula incesta Slaty Skimmer (1 teneral)
Libellula luctuosa, Widow Skimmer (20)
Libellula lydia , Common Whitetail (20)
Libellula pulchella, Twelve-spotted Skimmer (1 male)
Libellula semifasciata, Painted Skimmer (2)
Libellula vibrans, Great Blue Skimmer (2)
Pachydiplax longipennis, Blue Dasher (8)
Perithemis tenera, Eastern Amberwing (2 males)

Also a Damselfly
Calopteryx dimidiata, Sparkling Jewelwing

Joe Poston
Salisbury NC

Hairstreak Hunt Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve June 03, 2001

Hi – Had 7 folks that made it to Weymouth Woods – SNP to look for hairstreaks
on Sunday June 3. The weather was great – temps in the upper 70’s – low
80’s.

We spent nearly all our time looking at blooming New Jersey Tea, mainly
near the northwest corner of the Pine Barrens Trail and near the intersection
of the Pine Barrens and Gum Swamp Trail. New Jersey Tea is near peak and
Sourwood is just starting to bloom. There are no other nectar sources
at this site at this time of year. Due to afternoon commitments we looked
from 9:30 am to noon. Most of the hairstreaks were very fresh to fresh
with the exception of one Edwards that was missing most of his hindwing
– maybe an encounter with a bird? We didn’t come close to last years numbers
– maybe a tad early this year?

We spent a little time at the Paint Hill section and found 2 Kings Hairstreas
that were on near blooming sourwood. We did see a couple more hairstreaks
high up in the sourwoods but we needed a scope to id them! Here are the
totals. Staff will survey other areas of the park during the next few
weeks and will post what we find.

Thanks to all who helped.

Kings Hairstreak 6, 2 of these were on sourwood at the Paint Hill Section.

Coral Hairstreak 5
Banded Hairstreak12
Edwards Hairstreak10
Gray Hairstreak 2
Crossline Skipper 3
Hoary Edge 1
Palamedes Swallowtail 1
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 2
Spicebush Swallowtail 2
American Lady 9
Southern Broken Dash 4
Southern Cloudywing 2
Northern Cloudywing 1
Dun Skipper 1

Scott Hartley
Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve
Southern Pines, NC Moore Co.

Riverbanks Zoo and Botanic Garden and Clemson’s Sandhills Research and Education Station June 16-17, 2001

The Carolina Butterfly Society Butterfly walks on Saturday and Sunday
were not particularly highlighted by butterflies. On Saturday we were
treated to a female painted bunting in a field we explored near the Riverbanks
Zoo and Botanic Gardens, and a male Indigo serenaded us while we explored
the powerline adjacent to the new botanic gardens entrance on the Lexington
County side of the Saluda River. Sunday, a Bald Eagle soared over our
head at the Clemson University Sandhills Experiment and Education Center
in Richland Co. Perhaps the drought has reduced the butterfly population
significantly. None of us have been seeing as many as usual all spring.

On Saturday, the most common butterfly was a common checkered-skipper.
And they were not behaving commonly. Almost
all were landing and keeping their wings up over their body instead of
spread as seems to be the usual behavior. Sunday the checkered-skipper
was common as were the Common Buckeye and the American Lady. Early in
the afternoon, one last visit to the butterfly garden yielded a beautiful
fresh Zebra Swallowtail with the classic summer form long tails. The weather
was more civilized on Sunday as well.

Tommie Moody deserves our thanks for
setting up these walks. We can’t hold her responsible for the weather!
In addition, thanks our due our guide to the back areas of the Sandhills
Center and its butterflies, John Cely.

Both days had a good population of
odonates present. The Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) and the black-winged
Variable Dancer were common.

Here are the lists. CBS Butterfly
Walk Riverbanks Zoo and adjacent fields Lexington Co., SC June 16, 2001

E. Tiger Swallowtail
Cabbage White
Red-banded Hairstreak
American Snout
Variegated Fritillary
Pearl Crescent
American Lady
Common Buckeye
Silver-spotted Skipper
Horace’s Duskywing (pair)
Zarucco Duskywing
Common Checkered-skipper
Fiery Skipper
Sachem
Delaware Skipper
Dun Skipper

Clemson Sandhill Center Richland
Co, SC Sunday, June 17, 2001

Zebra Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Spicebush Swallowtail
Red-banded Hairstreak
American Lady
Painted Lady!
Common Buckeye
Red-spotted Purple
Silver-spotted Skipper
Horace’s Duskywing
Common Checkered-skipper
Fiery Skipper
Unidentified little gray job! (skipper)

The dragonflies and damselflies spotted were: Odonates from the Botanic
Gardens & adjacent area Lexinton Co, SC June 16, 2001

Green Darner (Anax junius)
Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)
Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)
Common Whitetail (L. lydia)
Variable Dancer (Argia f. fumipennis)
Double-striped Bluet (female) (Enallagma basidens)
Citrine Forktail (Ishnura hastata)

Odonates from Clemson Sandhills Center June 17, 2001
Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)
Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)
Common Whitetail (Libellula lydia)
Slaty Skimmer (L. incesta)
Golden-winged Skimmer (L. auripennis)
Banded Pennant (Celithemis fasciata)
Calico Pennant (C. elisa)
Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)
Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina)
Atlantic Bluet (Enallagma doubledayi)
Variable Dancer (Argia f. fumipennis)

Lynn B Smith
Columbia, SC

Pettigrew State Park Butterfly Count June 17, 2001

Hi,

The 7th Pettigrew State Park Butterfly Count was held on June 17th.
Despite being rained out on Sat the 16th and it being cloudy nearly all
day on the 17th we had a pretty good day. We ended up with 40 species
including one new species to the count – Pipevine Swallowtail. (Harry
– we had whirlabout and broadwing in 95). This only count I am aware of
where the numbers are so hard to estimate. The ditches around the fields
in this area where there are verbena and buttonbush are literally alive
with butterflies – I feel we are pretty conservative with our numbers.

It really is an incredible show and I wish we could get a few more people
to help us out. Non bflies included great view of otters, black bear -Harry
had a very close encounter with this bear or possibly a different one,
the obligatory dickcissel and a beautiful red
bellied water snake
. Thanks to Toni Rexrode, Harry LeGrand and Jeff
Pippen for their help. Pettigrew State Park in located 7 miles south of
Creswell, NC Washington Co.

1 Pipevine Swallowtail
400 Zebra Swallowtail
4 Black Swallowtail
3 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
5 Spicebush Swallowtail
4 Palamedes Swallowtail
1,000 Cabbage White
200 Orange Sulphur
1 Cloudless Sulphur
500 Sleepy Orange
16 Gray Hairstreaks
6 Eastern Tailed-Blue
3 Summer Azure
4 American Snout
530 Variegated Fritillary
700 Pearl Crescent
7 Question Mark
380 American Lady
200 Painted Lady (new state high count)
200 Red Admiral
225 Common Buckeye
3 Red Spotted Purple
30 Viceroy
10 Carolina Satyr
15 Silver-Spotted Satyr
20 Hoarce’s Duskywing
6 Common Checkered- Skipper
300 Common Sootywing
1 Clouded Skipper
45 Least Skipper
700 Fiery Skipper
1 Whirlabout
1 Sachem
14 Yehl Skipper – No Harvard Skippers;)
1 Broad-winged Skipper
2 Palatka Skipper
32 Dion Skipper
30 Dun Skipper
14 Lace-winged Roadside Skipper
1 Ocola Skipper

Scott Hartley
Weymouth Woods SNP
Southern Pines, NC