The Triad Chapter of Carolina Butterfly Society held a successful outing on Saturday, March 19, on the Reedy Fork Trail in Guilford County, NC. Our target species was Falcate Orangetips. Shortly after we entered the trail we saw our first one and ultimately counted at least 7 individuals, of which at least three were females.
The chapter usually has morning butterfly outings but we began this trail walk around 1:30 on this official last day of winter when the air was warmer and butterflies were more likely to be flying. The temperature was around 70 degrees under a partly cloudy sky. We were concerned about the unusually high wind but it was quieter along the woodland trail than in the open parking area so presented no problems. We spent about an hour and a half on the trail.
Although there was a lot of blooming Hairy Bittercress, a host plant for our target species, none of the Falcate Orangetips paused long enough to allow photographs. In addition we spotted a larger high-flying orange-brown butterfly that was likely a Common Question Mark or Eastern Comma.
Mark your calendars: We intend to return to this same trail on April 9 in search of Zebra Swallowtails. By that time, the host plant for that species, pawpaw, should be blooming. We expect that Falcate Orangetips still will be flying, and sometimes we see other woodland butterflies along the trail this time of year.
Thanks to Anne Carlson for being the trip coordinator. She also will be the coordinator of the outing on April 9th. Let her know if you would like to join us.