Triad Chapter – Pilot Mountain SP Surry Co, NC – June 25, 2016

The Carolina Butterfly Society Triad Chapter sponsored a field trip to Pilot Mountain State Park in Surry County, NC, on Saturday, June 25. We had a congenial group of 9 participants.

The weather was very comfortable for us humans, although possibly not so much for the butterflies. Although it was mostly sunny for the first hour and a half, the sky became hazy and then overcast later in the morning. The temperature ranged for around 73 to about 78, an unusually cool morning for this time of year.

We found only nine butterflies of six species. The list is below. We speculated that the low numbers are influenced by the on-going drought in this area, which is likely to have reduced the nectar availability. We also wondered if the natural midsummer decline in some butterfly species that are between broods already has begun.

Although it was a butterfly walk, we saw other things of interest. In the dry meadow at the base of the mountain access road we saw two species of dragonflies, 1 Widow Skimmer and 2 Eastern Amberwings, all females. In addition, we were happy to see two blooming native plants that we don’t often see, the native orchid Nodding Lady’s Tresses (Spiranthes cernua) in the meadow and a small native of the lily family, Yellow Star Grass (Hypoxis hirsuta) on the top of the mountain.

The birders in the group saw or heard quite a few species of birds but nothing unusual or unexpected, and we saw two different spotted Whitetail Deer fawns, one in the meadow and one in the mountaintop picnic area.

Despite the low number of butterflies, it was a very nice outing!

Here is the butterfly list:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 1
Spicebush Swallowtail 1
Eastern Tailed-Blue 3
Azure sp 1
Red Admiral 1
American Lady 2


Dennis E. Burnette