August 1, 2000
Dear SCAN Members,
We had a lovely day for our trip to Crowder’s Mountain State Park, comfortably cool for July in the Piedmont. The overcast sky kept the temperatures from climbing, but happily didn’t put too much of a damper on insect activity, as evidenced by our fauna list. SCAN members enjoyed a leisurely walk around a small pond through typical Piedmont vegetation. We were accompanied on our stroll by a flotilla of Mallard ducks who relished chasing down Japanese Beetles and grasshoppers tossed into the water by some of our members!
One interesting feature we found was what appeared to be a “colony” of velvet ants. We found a low bare mound about 4′ by 2′ with 1/4″ holes, into which female velvet ants were running. Males with blue-black wings were flying low over the surrounding grass. Velvet ant larvae are parasitic on other wasps and bees, so possibly the mound had been made by colonial sand wasps, and the velvet ants were entering for oviposition.
Another interesting insect observed was the Harvester Butterfly. This small attractively marked insect has a unique life history. Its larvae are the only caterpillars in our area which are carnivorous! Not surprisingly, we also observed the caterpillars’ favored prey, the Woolly Alder Aphid, on the abundant Tag Alders around the pond.
If you missed our excursion, it is well worth the drive to go and check out this park. For those of you who are up to more strenuous hiking, there are longer trails leading up to the tops of two granite monadnocks where some rare plant communities are found. There is also a new visitors’ center which had a nice exhibit on the Piedmont prairie ecosystem.
The fourth annual Butterfly Gardening Symposium sponsored by the Carolina Butterfly Society will be held at Cypress Gardens near Moncks Corner, SC on Saturday, October 7. There will be a great line-up of speakers on Saturday, as well as exhibits and a silent auction of plants and butterfly-related items. For those who stay overnight, there will also be a butterfly walk in the area on Sunday. There is a $20.00 fee for the symposium, due no later than September 30. For more information, contact SCAN and CBS member Lynn Smith at (803) 432-1504. Lynn will also bring some registration forms to our August and September SCAN trips.
Mary G. Douglass, President
SAT., AUG. 26, 2000 — BUZZARD ROOST HERITAGE PRESERVE — 10:30 AM.
SUN., AUG. 27, 2000 — KING CREEK FALLS — 10:30 AM
Our August field trip will take us to the upper northwest corner of South Carolina in Oconee County. On Saturday we will venture into Buzzard Roost Heritage Preserve. This preserve, which encompasses 501 acres, is a small monadnock which contains a rich sampling of higher elevation Piedmont flora and fauna. Some of the best marble outcrop is also found here. This area, which is adjacent to Sumter National Forest,