Patches of Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) are well known for their attractiveness to butterflies. I visited a large patch a couple of days ago. This area is affectionately known as the Dillon Dump, as it was used as a temporary holding place for debris such as brush, branches, stumps, etc before they were burned. It is located along what remains of the former Dillon Trail, which used to be a driveable road across the southern part of the park. The entire route is next to impossible to find now unless one is quite familiar with the layout of it, and one has some good high rubber boots. Regardless, this open area near the beginning and driest part of the Dillon Trail is now dominated by Common Milkweed. If there was one plant, there had to be at least 1000, and many of them were in some stage of flowering.
|Partial view of the Dillon Dump area|
Needless to say, this is a hotspot for butterflies. By far one of the more common ones on this occasion was Silver-spotted Skipper, the largest skipper we have. There must have been 50 or more.
There were some smaller skippers around...mostly European Skippers, and some other small butterflies such as Summer Azure, which I didn't photograph. But there were larger butterflies on the wing, such as this Eastern Comma.
Great Spangled Fritillaries were there as well, although the handful I saw all seemed to be a bit faded and not very fresh looking. This one is a little battered as well, with its right hind-wing showing some wear and tear.
|Great Spangled Fritillary|
Eastern Tiger Swallowtails were noticeable due to their size and flashy colours. There were at least 8 of them there.
|Eastern Tiger Swallowtail|
There were a few Little Wood-Satyrs around.
A couple of Appalachian Browns were there, one of which was quite fresh looking as well as being cooperative.
There were other species of milkweed in the area, including Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa).
Another milkweed nearby in the grassy beach dunes is Green Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora). It isn't very colourful, and I have not seen butterflies on them....only ants.
|Cluster of Green Milkweed|
Sunday looks like a decent day for the butterfly count.....mostly sunny, with temperatures ~28C so hopefully there are lots of butterflies.