Written by NABA Hairstreak Chapter, Tallahassee, FL Tuesday, 03 April 2012 09:19
Field Trip to the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge: Saturday, April 7
This joint field trip to the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge (LSNWR) is hosted by our local Hairstreak Chapter as well as the Gainesville Chapter of NABA. Barbara Woodmansee of the Gainesville Chapter has surveyed this area for three years and has compiled a list of 78 species on the Nature Drive. Last year they found 44 species of butterflies in early April, including Sweadner’s Juniper Hairstreak, Appalachian Brown, Gemmed Satyr, and two species of grass skippers (Aaron’s and Obscure) that are rare in the Tallahassee area.
The 8-mile scenic Nature Drive is located approximately 10 miles north of Cedar Key. The drive is on well-maintained dirt roads and the drive/walk to the best butterfly areas will probably take four to six hours. Though biting bugs are not usually terrible in April, sand fleas and mosquitoes can be a problem (especially at the very beginning of the trip). Long pants tucked into socks are recommended to prevent tick bites.
Carpooling from Tallahassee is recommended because it is approximately a three-hour drive one-way to the LSNWR. (If you ride in a carpool, please be sure to help pay the driver for gas expenses.) Since this will be an all-day trip, please bring a cooler with lunch and plenty to drink in addition to cameras, close-focusing binoculars, and insect repellent. The nearest place to purchase food is in Cedar Key or Chiefland. There are no bathrooms on the Nature Drive and cell phone service is spotty.
We will meet at the Village Square Shopping Center (Thomasville Road X Village Square Blvd.) near Applebee’s at 6:30 AM. Be prompt because we will be leaving at 6:35 AM! If you are going to the LSNWR directly, take U.S. 98 into Chiefland. In Chiefland, turn Right on CR 345. The road turns sharply left, and then watch for CR 330 (NW 70th St) toward Fowler’s Bluff. The road becomes CR 347. Passing Fowler’s Bluff on your right, stay on CR 347 toward Cedar Key for about 8 miles. You will pass a sign for the North entrance and then will see a large brown sign showing where you will turn right to meet the group just inside the South entrance. We plan to join the Gainesville NABA group there at 9:15 AM
Celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 21!
The annual Wakulla Wildlife Festival is a celebration of the rich natural history of the Wakulla Springs basin. A variety of activities are scheduled for both Friday, April 20th, and Saturday, April 21st. Go to http://www.wakullawildlifefestival.org/ for more information and to register for the festival. The Hairstreak Chapter will have a booth set up at Wakulla Springs State Park on Saturday and will sponsor a butterfly field trip that day from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. Butterflies we hope to see at the park include swallowtails, satyrs, and other common yard and garden butterflies.
In Jackson County, Florida Caverns State Park have their Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 21 as well from 9 AM to 2 PM CST. Eric Shaw will be leading butterfly walks there for our chapter.
Hairstreak Chapter members are needed at these events to share their enthusiasm for butterflies and our local environment. If you can volunteer for a few hours, please contact Sally or Dean Jue at email@example.com or call them at (850) 386-1393.
Butterfly Trip to the Southern Appalachians: May 4 - May 8, 2012
Vice-president Eric Shaw is finalizing our NABA trip to north Georgia and the North Carolina mountains. If you are interested in joining us for all or part of this 5-day adventure, e-mail Eric (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately. At present, there are 14 people signed up.
Butterfly Trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas: November 10 - November 12, 2012
Planning for our chapter field trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) of Texas is continuing. If you are interested in participating, please contact Dean and Sally Jue by e-mail (email@example.com) or by phone (850) 386-1393. Participants will be responsible for their lodging and meal costs as well as their own transportation to and from the LRGV (whether driving or flying). Round-trip plane fares between Tallahassee and the south Texas cities of McAllen or Brownsville are currently around $500 per person. If there are enough participants, we may be able to get a reduced lodging rate in McAllen and rent a van. Costs of a van rental will be shared by those who choose this local transportation option. Of course, all trip participants are welcome to spend some extra time either before or after the field trip to explore the area on their own.
Report on Field Trip to the Apalachicola National Forest: Saturday, March 24
Despite initially threatening skies, the group set forth to visit several locations in the Apalachicola National Forest. Our primary goal was to see Hessel's Hairstreak, a species we had not been able to see due to several years of rainy, unpassable roads. Despite the early spring, we found several Hessel's Hairstreaks in their Atlantic white cedar habitat and everyone eventually got looks at one rather worn individual high in a cedar. At another site in the national forest, we found a number of obliging Wild Indigo Duskywings as well as several Dusted (Loammi) Skippers and a fresh Palmetto Skipper. We checked a large patch of Sundial Lupine for Frosted Elfins at a site where we have seen them in the past. Although no adults were found, we did discover a caterpillar and eggs. Other gems seen that day included Little Wood-Satyr, Gemmed Satyr, Little Metalmark, Tawny-edged Skipper, and Southern Cloudywing. In all, we saw 34 species, counting caterpillars.
Report on Field Trip to the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve and the Stocks’ Property: Saturday, March 31
The day began with cloudy weather and occasional sprinkles. Our first stop was at Georgia and Jim Stock's house in Gadsden County. The group enjoyed visiting and eating Georgia’s muffins while waiting for the rain to pass. Lush stands of mountain laurel were blooming in their ravine, but with the early onset of spring (and perhaps the cloudy weather) no Brown Elfins were located. We certainly appreciated the generous hospitality of the Stocks, however, and while there, had excellent views of a female Black Swallowtail and an obliging Eastern Box Turtle. Continuing on to Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve (the "Garden of Eden"), the group of 15 encountered a number of excellent butterflies, including Sleepy Duskywing (several, looking very fresh), Dotted Skipper (several), Confused Cloudywing (first for the Preserve), Northern Cloudywing, and Spring Azure. On the way back home, we stopped at Aspalaga Landing and found American Snout, Tropical Checkered-Skipper, Common/White-Checkered Skipper, Texan (Seminole) Crescent, Pearl Crescent, Red Admiral, Carolina Satyr, and many Dun Skippers. No sign, however, of the Yucca Giant-Skipper, which may have already finished its spring flight. In all, we saw 27 species for the day.
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