Sighting for May 21, 2020

Sharon & Wade Wander

Yards Creek Pump Storage Facility, Blairstown Twp.
Warren County, NJ

10:00-2:00, full sun, 55-70º. This was our fourth consecutive annual May survey at this facility, most of which has been closed to the public since 9/11. (We are allowed to conduct butterfly surveys as volunteers to the NJ Endangered and Nongame species Program.) We survey in mid- to late May primarily for the very small population of Common Roadside-Skippers. This year a utility company had sprayed herbicide under power lines that cross a field that we survey annually. We also found that the Forest Service (presumably) had recently bulldozed and widened the fire-break trail at the upper reservoir where we find Roadside-Skippers. Seeing the damage, we were not optimistic, but a few hardy Roadsides did turn up to make our day.

For those who wish to access Yards Creek, check in at the guard station at the end of Walnut Valley Road and ask permission to access the Kaiser hiking trail near the old Boy Scout camp. You will be directed to a small parking lot near the camp. The facility is limiting this lot to 5 vehicles so it best to visit on a weekday. On weekends this lot fills up shortly after 8 when the guard station opens. The Kaiser Trail intersects the AT. By turning left (south) on the AT one may be able to find the sought-after Roadside-Skipper near the Raccoon Ridge hawk lookout. Check openings along the trail where Little Bluestem grass grows. The stretch of trail between the hawk lookout and the powerline to the south can be especially good. This area can also be reached by hiking the AT south from Camp Mohican Road in Blairstown.

In addition to the listed butterflies we saw a mother bear with 2 very small cubs, and 6 Bald Eagles. We also re-found 2 small Rhodora shrubs in the same location that we first discovered in 1999. Rhodora is an S1 species in NJ (very rare with no more than 5 known locations).

  • Black Swallowtail 1
  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 7
  • Cabbage White 3
  • Falcate Orangetip 2
  • Clouded Sulphur 4
  • American Copper 1
  • Eastern Tailed-Blue 12
  • Pearl Crescent 16
  • American Lady 5
  • Painted Lady 1
  • Red Admiral 1
  • Silver-spotted Skipper 2
  • Sleepy Duskywing 1
  • Juvenal's Duskywing 12
  • Wild Indigo Duskywing 32
  • Common Roadside-Skipper 3

Rhodora

Common Roadside-Skipper

Mama and Two Cubs