New record for Saline County: Peck’s Skipper – Polites peckius

Saturday (May 22) Jen and I went to Lincoln to buy more plants (Statewide Arboretum and Midwest Natives). Although the weather was not ideal (mostly cloudy with a stiff wind out of the south) for butterfly hunting we decided to do a little exploring and take a road less traveled (not Interstate 80) home. Driving west on state highway 41 in Saline County we went past a sign alerting us to the presence of a Willard Meyer Recreation Area. It wasn’t on my DeLorme map so we made a u-turn and went back to check it out. It ends up that it is an NRD development (Swan Lake). We got out and explored one area and drove around and scouted out a few others. There is an interesting mix of habitats ranging from marshy creek bottoms to upland prairies. While hardly anything was blooming and the weather was mostly unfavorable we were able to find Silver Spotted, Common Checkered, Tawny Edged and Peck’s Skippers, Alfalfa Butterflies, Eastern Tailed Blues, and a Summer Azure. Of these Peck’s Skipper had not previously been recorded from Saline County. And the first sightings of Pack’s and Tawny Edged Skippers for 2021. The area is definitely worth a return trip in a month when the weather is more favorable and there are more things blooming.

Peck’s Skipper, The Nature Conservancy’s Caveny Tract – Platte River Prairies, Nebraska, 6/2/20, photo by Chris Helzer
York and Adams Counties are 4H records with incomplete data

This skipper flies in multiple broods and should be found in every county in the state, mainly around, but not exclusive to, wetlands. Larvae feed on Switchgrasses (Panicum sp.). County record opportunities abound! Report any sightings/photos of counties lacking records to nebraskabutterflies@gmail.com

While last year’s Big Year project was fun I almost exclusively went to places I had been to in the past. I did miss the exploring aspect that I usually engage in while traveling. So while this year is going to be more devoted to exploration some part of me obligates me keep a running species total for the year. So 2021’s year to date total is 21 species.

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