Trip to Virginia: May 28 to June 10

I headed east for an annual speleology research trip, and was determined to make some more above-ground observations this year than in the past. I was especially determined to see some new Dragonflies and Damselflies.

The trip started off less than inspiring, with flooding rains for the first 500 of 1250 miles, and rain at our forest campsite for the first week causing huge mud issues. But my work was in caves, so we really didn't care too much.

I kept an eye out for dragonflies during the first week or so, and only got a photos of a Common Whitetail. I did briefly see what I believe was a large Cruiser of some sort, patrolling a woodland road, but it flew away and never returned.

At the end of the trip, I had a couple days when I had some spare time, and I visited some local US Forest Service lakes and a large beaverdam complex in a fairly isolated headwaters stream. These sites were much more satisfying, and I saw many, many Odonates, only 50% or so of which I was able to photograph. One group that I never managed to photograph a single individual in were the Darners; I saw a number of them, but they refused to perch for me, and every time I scared one up in a meadow or along a trail, it didn't land again in sight.

The observations linked with this entry also include plants, flowers, herps, a few birds, a few fungi, and terrestrial snails. Sorting and ID'ing will still take me a few days, so it is not yet a complete set of observations for the trip.

Posted by beschwar beschwar, June 17, 2016 04:02

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Black Bear (Ursus americanus ssp. americanus)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 2, 2016 07:49 AM EDT

Description

While camping, a bear dog chased a medium to large bear past our camping area. No photo of the bear, but there was plenty of bear poo around, so I can provide a photo of that. Despite what the location says, it is not on National Forest but is on private property.

Photos / Sounds

What

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 9, 2016 11:41 AM CDT

Description

Found at a rest stop on I-59

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 10, 2016 12:50 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Orchard Orbweaver (Leucauge venusta)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 4, 2016 07:07 AM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Putty Root (Aplectrum hyemale)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 3, 2016 04:34 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 3, 2016 04:32 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Fire Pink (Silene virginica)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 3, 2016 04:22 PM CDT

Description

This flower is missing one of the five petals that the flower should have.

Photos / Sounds

What

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 14, 2016 12:56 PM CDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Southeastern Whitelip (Neohelix major)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 2016

Description

Found in leaves on the ground in a wooded sinkhole. Only one seen at this site, despite a lot of searching.

Photos / Sounds

What

Four-leaved Milkweed (Asclepias quadrifolia)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 28, 2016 06:06 PM CDT

Description

Fairly common in the woods in this region

Photos / Sounds

What

Great Yellow Woodsorrel (Oxalis grandis)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 28, 2016 06:06 PM CDT

Description

Common

Photos / Sounds

What

Violet Woodsorrel (Oxalis violacea)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 28, 2016 06:06 PM CDT

Description

Less common than the yellow sorrel species in this area.

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 28, 2016 06:06 PM CDT

Description

I can't really figure out how to tell all the Slimy Salamanders apart, and it appears that there are several which live in this region. This one was well back in a narrow fissure in a limestone cliff near a cave entrance, and I was unable to get a better photo of it.

Photos / Sounds

What

Cumberland Plateau Salamander (Plethodon kentucki)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 28, 2016 06:06 PM CDT

Description

Perhaps Plethodon cylindraceus is the correct ID on this one? Again, I'm really not sure how to tell the species apart.

Found on a large slab of bark leaning against a limestone cliff near a cave entrance.

Photos / Sounds

What

American Giant Millipede Complex (Complex Narceus americanus)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 28, 2016 06:06 PM CDT

Description

These are quite common in the forest in this region.

Photos / Sounds

What

Red-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens ssp. viridescens)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 28, 2016 06:06 PM CDT

Description

Many were seen in this area.

Photos / Sounds

What

Upright Yellow-Sorrel (Oxalis stricta)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 31, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 31, 2016

Description

I'm not sure on the species for this.

Photos / Sounds

What

Panicled Ticktrefoil (Desmodium paniculatum)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 31, 2016

Description

I've seen this frequently in the woods in this region, and I assume it must be a flowering plant, but I have no idea what it is.

Photos / Sounds

What

Appalachian Mimic Millipedes (Genus Brachoria)

Observer

beschwar

Date

May 31, 2016

Description

I think this could be Brachoria virginia, based on the range and coloration, but I'm definitely not knowledgeable about these guys. Many of them in moist leaf litter all over the region.

Photos / Sounds

What

Pink Fringed Faery Cup (Microstoma floccosum)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 1, 2016

Description

These were pretty common under the edges of rotting logs and leaf-covered logs. Large cup is ~1cm in diameter.

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Eastern Bumble Bee (Bombus impatiens)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 1, 2016

Description

Based on information I found here, I think this is the correct ID.

http://vaworkinglandscapes.org/library/documents/VWL_handouts/Bumble_Bees_of_Virginia_Pamphlet_VWL.pdf

Photos / Sounds

What

Ravine Salamander (Plethodon richmondi)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 1, 2016

Description

Found in wet leaf litter near a cave entrance.

Photos / Sounds

What

Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 1, 2016

Description

Found in a small swampy clearing

Photos / Sounds

What

Needle-tipped Blue-Eyed-Grass (Sisyrinchium mucronatum)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 1, 2016

Description

On the edge of a small swampy clearing.

Photos / Sounds

What

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 2, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 2, 2016

Description

female

Photos / Sounds

What

Azure Bluet (Enallagma aspersum)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

Male and female - I did not see them in copula, but the patterns match this species and they were flying near each other.

Photos / Sounds

What

Bluejacket (Tradescantia ohiensis)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

I think this is correct, but the leaves below the flowers were longer than I remember seeing them before.

Photos / Sounds

What

Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

Male and female seen in this general area.

Photos / Sounds

What

Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

I saw a number of these today.

Photos / Sounds

What

Amber-winged Spreadwing (Lestes eurinus)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

Because I don't know Lestes sp in this region, I may be posting duplicate observations for the same species. If so, I will combine into a single observation later.

Photos / Sounds

What

Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Amber-winged Spreadwing (Lestes eurinus)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Brown Spiketail (Cordulegaster bilineata)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

I saw a few of these at different times during the day. They seemed to be relatively common.

Photos / Sounds

What

Amber-winged Spreadwing (Lestes eurinus)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Aurora Damsel (Chromagrion conditum)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Pond Spreadwings (Genus Lestes)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

American Emerald (Cordulia shurtleffii)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 2016

Description

Although the single dragonfly was not one of the ones pictured mating (it was nearby), I believe they are all the same species.

Photos / Sounds

What

Amber-winged Spreadwing (Lestes eurinus)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

These were relatively common.

Photos / Sounds

What

Arrowhead Spiketail (Cordulegaster obliqua)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 2016

Description

I think this ID is correct. This was the only one of this species that I saw today, and it was larger than the other Spiketails by 1-2 cm. Perching in shaded bushes at the edge of a clearing in the woods, about 1m off the ground. Wary.

Photos / Sounds

What

American Beaver (Castor canadensis)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

Azalea Gall on Flame Azalea

Photos / Sounds

What

Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Little Blue Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax minuscula)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

First time seeing this species, so I'm not very confident on the ID. Seems to match though.

Photos / Sounds

What

Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Dot-tailed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia intacta)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 2016

Description

I'm sure this must not be a correct ID, based on the range for Spot-Tailed Dasher, but it is the only thing I have found in keys and photos that looks similar. It's probably just a common dragonfly that I don't yet know. Unfortunately, I only got a single shot from a distance before it flew away.

@greglasley Do you have any ID suggestions?

Photos / Sounds

What

Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

Two seen perching on sunny rocks

Photos / Sounds

What

Variable Dancer (Argia fumipennis)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Lancet Clubtail (Phanogomphus exilis)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

This was a small Clubtail that I'm unfamiliar with so far. There were a number of what appeared to be the same species flying around (see a second observation of a different individual from the same day), but I couldn't be certain that they were.

Unfortunately, getting good photos of them was difficult with the wind and due to the fact that they didn't want to hang around for very long to let me get close.

Photos / Sounds

What

Skimming Bluet (Enallagma geminatum)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Double-striped Bluet (Enallagma basidens)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Banded Pennant (Celithemis fasciata)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Lancet Clubtail (Phanogomphus exilis)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Stream Cruiser (Didymops transversa)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

A single and a pair were seen in the edges of brushy clearings.

Photos / Sounds

What

Downy Skullcap (Scutellaria incana)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 8, 2016

Description

Probably about 16-18" long. It was a nice surprise to find this sharing an 'apartment' with a Timber Rattlesnake! See the photo of both.

Photos / Sounds

What

Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

Observer

beschwar

Date

June 2016

Description

Probably about 24-30" long. It was a nice surprise to find this sharing an 'apartment' with a Northern Copperhead! See the photo of both.

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