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August 05, 2020

Zabulon Skipper - Female

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 80°F, partly cloudy and breezy at 2:00 PM on August 05, 2020.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.
  • Quite the storm passed through the day before, with many still without power and not expecting it soon.
  • In butterfly news, they were out and hungry today.

The Trails

  • An eastern tiger swallowtail was the first to greet me in the Old Hayfiled behind Gifford House.
  • Invasive spotted knappweed looks a bit like a thistle and was popular with many butterflies.
  • Normally a dusty lavendar, wild bergamot, in one little patch, was white. It was there last year, too.
  • A spicebush swallowtail was working on the standard variety, with forewings blurred in constant motion.
  • Along the edge of the field berries were ripening.
  • In the back, horse nettle was in bloom.
  • More and more goldenrods were blooming, attracting some unusual looking wasps...
  • ... and some more familiar.
  • There were a fair number of northern broken-dashes and a few dun skippers, but it paid to keep looking: a female Zabulon skipper was in the mix.
  • Apparently, a wild turkey had been through.
  • The second brood of least skipper had started up.
  • If you find black swallowtail caterpillars eating your dill or parsley, they can be moved to Queen Anne's Lace.
  • I don't know if I've ever seen the path worn so bare.
  • The second brood of common ringlet had started up, too.
  • Pearl crescents were courting on spotted knappweed. The male, below, has uniform orange on the forewing above; the female is lighter toward the margin.
  • On the Sedge Meadow Trail, what may be mock orange was developing fruit. We shall see...
  • A shadow flitted across in front of me; I stopped and looked up. What seemed to be a wingtip was hanging over the edge of a leaf.
  • Careful repositioning revealed a convincing silhouette.
  • Reeeaaalll slow now... a hackberry emperor!
  • In a moment it was gone spiraling up in the air with another, maybe two. It settled down way up on some sunny walnut leaves.
  • How different they look in different lighting.
  • At the high point of the Sedge Meadow Trail, a yellow dot streaked across the path into the gray dogwood.
  • It was a Zabulon skipper - male. Compare that to the female seen earlier.
  • Although the air was cool, the sun was warm. It was nice to enter the shade over the boardwalk.
  • A silver-spotted skipper was basking in a sunny patch.
  • Appalachian browns were still patrolling the open areas.
  • The bergamot in the back Old Hayfield was active, even in the shade.
  • A spicebush swallowtail gave a great view of its underside, the characteristic missing orange spot clearly visible.
  • Right along side was a male tiger swallowtail. He doesn't have as much blue on the hindwing margin as does the female.
  • Speaking of blue, several eastern tailed-blues were darting about in the tall grass.
  • Goldenrod was open for business with five different insects dining on one head.
  • Tiny, but spectacular orange mint moths were all around the wild bergamot, of the mint family, of course.
  • Seeking privacy in the bergamot was a pair of mating spicebush swallowtails.
  • Back on the Sedge Meadow Trail, a Zabulon skipper and eastern comma were arguing about rights to a sunny spot in the woods.
  • A second comma joined the fray. It looked like it had stories to tell.
  • With patches of sun and shade, the path through the Old Pasture promised more butterflies.
  • There was a blur in the air as the path dipped down towards the Wappinger Creek. It seemed to pass behind a tree but not come out on the other side. There... on the trunk.
  • It was the resident northern pearly-eye.
  • Down in the floodplain, I wondered if that was a new tree across the creek or not.
  • An ebony jewelwing perched in silence.
  • Next week: The Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.


  • 1 Red-tailed Hawk
  • 2 Mourning Dove
  • 6 Chimney Swift
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 5 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Great Crested Flycatcher
  • 1 Blue Jay
  • 7 Tree Swallow
  • 1 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 Tufted Titmouse
  • 1 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 3 Veery
  • 2 American Robin
  • 5 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 4 Eastern Towhee
  • 4 Chipping Sparrow
  • 1 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 2 Indigo Bunting
  • 15 American Goldfinch
  • 1 Horse nettle
  • 3 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 2 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 3 Cabbage White
  • 2 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 3 Pearl Crescent
  • 2 Eastern Comma
  • 1 Red-spotted Purple
  • 1 Hackberry Emperor
  • 1 Northern Pearly-eye
  • 1 Appalachian Brown
  • 2 Common Ringlet
  • 2 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 1 Monarch
  • 3 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Least Skipper
  • 3 Northern Broken-Dash
  • 3 Zabulon Skipper
  • 1 Dun Skipper
  • 3 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 1 Orange Mint Moth
  • 2 Snowberry Clearwing