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August 11, 2021

Zabulon Skipper - Female

Notes and Changes since last report

  • It was 85°F, partly cloudy and humid, but breezy at 2:00 PM on August 11, 2021.
  • Several infrequent butterfly visitors were here today.
  • Signs of late summer were appearing.
  • This week's trail report covers the Wappinger Creek Trail side of the trail system.

The Trails

  • The dirt road to Gifford Carriage House was still damp from morning rains.
  • Clouded and orange sulphurs were "puddling" together. Note the broader dark margin of the orange sulphur in the middle.
  • A very nervous tawny-edged skipper kept darting back into the grass.
  • Unusually small eastern tailed-blues were about, and of course pearl crescents.
  • Across the front Old Hayfield, goldenrod was brightening while wild bergamot was starting to wane.
  • A fresh looking Zabulon skipper was sunning in the back corner.
  • Too big for a pearl crescent, too small for a great spangled frit, a meadow fritillary settled on goldenrod.
  • The underside is distinctive.
  • Intermediate dogbane pods were appearing as flowers were becoming fewer.
  • Swallowtails were easy to spot from any vantage point.
  • The male does not have as much blue as the female eastern tiger swallowtail.
  • The female Zabulon skipper looks nothing like the male.
  • At the corner of the Sedge Meadow Trail, the hickory was starting to drop nuts.
  • That trail was lined with gray dogwood with ripening berries.
  • Always welcoming, the shade over the boardwalk was life giving today.
  • Overhead, a familiar "chip-burrr" was traced to a scarlet tanager starting to molt off his summer breeding plumage.
  • Near the window into the Sedge Meadow, a very well worn Appalachian brown flew around me and perched in the sun.
  • Through the window, all was quiet; purple loosestrife was still going strong.
  • At the exit into the back Old Hayfield, a great spangled fritillary was just hanging out in the shade.
  • And another female Zabulon skipper appeared. The female Hobomok skipper occasionally has a very similar dark form, but lacking the white hindwing apex.
  • Wild bergamot was still looking good in the back Old Hayfield.
  • A galium sphinx actually landed. These have't been around much.
  • It's worth checking every spicebush swallowtail: yellow on the hindwing makes this one a black swallowtail. Thin yellow and thick blue indicate it's female.
  • And below there is an extra orange spot; spicebush is missing one...
  • A viceroy must have survived a bird attack. But it looks like a monarch, and monarchs taste bad. Maybe birds have to learn.
  • The Wappinger Creek looked and sounded full.
  • Along the lower section of the trail, sun played across the water.
  • Trout were gathering in that sunny soit.
  • One was a monster - the smaller ones seemed to be keeping their distance...
  • Back on the bank, a broken sycamore had a shelf fungus forming at its base.
  • This looked like the type of fungus that was always there before.
  • Puffballs grow so quickly, we'll try to find them next week.
  • Next week: the Cary Pines Trail side of the trail system.


  • 1 Mourning Dove
  • 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • 1 Pileated Woodpecker
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo
  • 2 Blue Jay
  • 2 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 1 American Robin
  • 3 Gray Catbird
  • 1 Cedar Waxwing
  • 2 Scarlet Tanager
  • 2 Eastern Towhee
  • 2 Field Sparrow
  • 1 Song Sparrow
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 8 American Goldfinch
  • 1 Black Swallowtail
  • 5 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • 2 Spicebush Swallowtail
  • 29 Cabbage White
  • 10 Clouded Sulphur
  • 1 Orange Sulphur
  • 5 Eastern Tailed-Blue
  • 1 Spring Azure
  • 10 Great Spangled Fritillary
  • 4 Meadow Fritillary
  • 33 Pearl Crescent
  • 2 Viceroy
  • 2 Appalachian Brown
  • 15 Common Ringlet
  • 12 Common Wood-Nymph
  • 1 Monarch
  • 13 Silver-spotted Skipper
  • 1 Tawny-edged Skipper
  • 4 Zabulon Skipper
  • 1 Hummingbird Clearwing
  • 1 Snowberry Clearwing