Clifton Institute bioblitz June 2024 (Rappahannock bis)

The Clifton Institute held a second June bioblitz on private property in Rappahannock County, this time on a smaller site (about 50 acres). Still, there was a good mix of upland, meadow, and a bit of wetland habitat. And it was hot: by the end of the afternoon, I was knackered and I skipped the after-dark UV lights.

in the meadowHere’s the group starting off in the meadow. This is as tight a clump as we formed all day.

As our homeowner’s site has only been partly managed for natives, and (friendly) neighboring properties perhaps not at all, there were opportunities to meet new non-native invasive plants, like Everlasting Pea (Lathyrus latifolius): dig the superwide wings on the stem. The householder was disappointed when I told her that the Persian Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin) was one of the less-desirables.

On the native plant side of the ledger, I found a huge (1.5 meters tall) sedge, most likely Carex gynandra or C. crinita, and another monster, Soft Bulrush (also a sedge, but with a soft round culm) (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani).

Organizer Bert Harris went fishing in Beaverdam Creek (tributary of the Thornton River) and netted a Mountain Redbelly Dace (Chrosomus oreas), not showing off a red tummy, alas.

New crawlies for me! A Cherry Dagger caterpillar (Acronicta hasta); a sharpshooter (Graphocephala sp.); a False Milkweed Bug (Lygaeus turcicus) [I’ve been focusing on the red-and-black species this summer]; and the gloriously named Twice-stabbed Stink Bug (Cosmopepla lintneriana).

And—after three seasons of chasing after Larry Meade and Bert, who are always spotting Prince Baskettails (Epitheca princeps) patrolling a pond, I finally found one for myself. Dusk was approaching and I was ready to go home, but I took a little walk down to the swimming pond on my way to the car. I found my guy doing what he should be doing, and with five minutes’ patience I squeezed off a few smudgy photos, sufficient for one of iNat’s experts to confirm the ID.