Carolina Butterfly Society

Shocco Creek Game Land Field Trip
April 13, 2003

We had a successful CBS field trip to Shocco Creek Game Land in Franklin Co., NC, yesterday (April 13). The weather was perfect -- clear, temps starting around 60 and reaching the low 70s, and relatively little wind. By my count, there were 16 folks on the trip, a nice turn-out. The trip will be repeated in two weeks, Sunday April 27.

The Wildlife Resources Commission has done some work in the place recently. There are a few tiny cleared areas along the entrance road, some fire breaks mowed (prescribed burns are planned for some of the pine stands), the road margins were cleared back a few feet, and fresh gravel has been dumped on muddy spots in the road. The gate was open, as we are now in the turkey hunting season, which runs into May (and the reason for the Sunday trips instead of Saturdays). The powerline has not been bush-hogged, though the late spring floristically meant few things were in bloom.

All in all, we saw lots of butterflies and dragonflies, but I wasn't impressed by diversity. For a while, everything was an E. Tiger Swallowtail and Juvenal's Duskywing. In fact, we saw ZERO other species of duskywings! This coming on the heels of Randy Emmitt finding at least SIX species the day before at Caswell Game Land. We saw the same six last year, though a bit later, so the April 27 trip should produce more diversity. Also, the diversity of brushfoots was poor, and we saw ZERO satyrs and just a single anglewing. But, we did find several target species -- Frosted Elfin, Cobweb Skipper (but seen by only a few folks),
and Carolina Roadside-Skipper. Seeing several E. Pine Elfins, a secondary target, was also a highlight. Folks should have some super photos of the two elfins, and the Carolina R-S.

Also, we saw many hundred dragonflies, and most folks saw some lifers in that group.

Here's the list:

Zebra Swallowtail (1)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (50)
Falcate Orangetip (3)
Orange Sulphur (1)
Sleepy Orange (6)
Eastern Pine Elfin (2)
Frosted Elfin (4) all fresh males, some emerged during the day
Henry's Elfin (1) seen only by one person
Gray Hairstreak (1) tiny but very fresh
Red-banded Hairstreak (1)
E. Tailed-Blue (6)
Spring Azure (10) included a few uncertain azures
Variegated Fritillary (2)
Pearl Crescent (4)
American Lady (2)
Question Mark (1) worn
Monarch (1)
Juvenal's Duskywing (200)
Cobweb Skipper (1) fresh male
Carolina Roadside-Skipper (2)


Gray Petaltail (1) not a common species; seen by a few folks
Springtime Darner (250+) amazing number
Harlequin Darner (2) one female/immature landed on my hand for a
photo! Primarily a Coastal Plain species
Swamp Darner (1) fly-by only
Ashy Clubtail (100+)
Lancet Clubtail (25) ID of these two tricky, so totals "loose"
Twin-spotted Spiketail (15)
Stream Cruiser (10)
Common Baskettail (20) several with much hind-wing dark coloration
Selys' Sundragon (5)
Uhler's Sundragon (2) good study of both sundragons, though not
together for comparison
Blue Corporal (80)
Common Whitetail (6)

Later in the afternoon, Jeff Pippen and I visited the DeHart Botanical
Gardens a few miles south of Louisburg. We took the northern trail loop
that went partly along a powerline, and visited a field area also
nearby. We added the following species of interest:
Black Swallowtail (2)
Cabbage White (1)
Henry's Elfin (2) both perched on Am. holly, a good sign of the
host plant!
Eastern Pine Elfin (1) worn
Silver-spotted Skipper (1)
Common Sootywing (3)
Harry LeGrand
NC Natural Heritage Program

Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus) male

Eastern Pine Elfin (Callophrys niphon)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) on Sweetleaf

Selys' Sundragon (Helocordulia selysii) mated pair

Carolina Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes carolina)
Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)

All photos taken on April 13, 2003 in Franklin County, North Carolina by Randy Emmitt and Roger Rittmaster
all rights reserved.


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