Harvester from the DC Annual Count at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens [2014 Aug. 17, Tom Stock]

Harvester from the DC Annual Count at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens [2014 Aug. 17, Tom Stock]

A couple of very interesting finds in the region this week that suggests we may have a strong finish to this middling 2014 season.

Four Bronze Coppers were sighted (with Salt-marsh Skippers) along Raymond Pool at Bombay Hook NWR in DE last weekend, nectaring on second-blush dogbane. This is same area that had Salt-marsh and Broad-winged Skippers two weeks ago, and that occasionally also sports Great Purple Hairstreak (although that has been an uncommon find this year, after a pretty good flight in 2013). Numbers of Great Purple Hairstreak were down on the recent Dismal Swamp Count as well. Both the hairstreak and the coppers will fly well into early fall.

Closer to home, in Harford Co MD, comes a report of the county’s first record of Giant Swallowtail, a single adult that seemed to be just moving on through. And a second Giant Swallowtail report came early in the week from near Route 15 just shy of the PA line in Frederick Co MD. In PA itself there were reports of this swallowtail from both Wyoming and Northampton Cos.

And closer still, on the DC Annual Count last weekend, spotters found a textbook White Admiral high in the trees at the Washington Youth Garden of the US National Arboretum. At the other site in the count circle, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, the team had a single Harvester plus numerous Appalachian Browns and a Broad-winged Skipper. Both locations were overrun with Southern Broken-dashes: 2014 had a record high count of 63 between the two locations. Little Glassywing was numerous as well, with a conservative 49 observed. A single White-M (in its go-to spot for this species near the large stand of clethra near the entrance to the Arboretum’s Fern Valley) and 11 Red-banded Hairstreaks were also logged. The first flight of Red-banded was somewhat skimpy but this brood seems quite robust; in New England they’ve been especially common this month.

Even dipping on a number of usual “gimme” species for this location (for example, we had only one sulphur species, no ladies, no emperors, no buckeyes), the species total for this count was still the highest ever at 36. Hayhurst’s Scallopwing, usually a fixture on this count, was not seen.

Ocola Skipper made its first local appearances at several locations in the DC area this week. Several Fiery Skippers were in the reports, as were assorted other grass skippers: Sachem, Crossline, Zabulon (with fresh females now flying as well) and Peck’s. Lantana is the big draw at this point of the season. Leonard’s Skipper is just out in PA so is likely on the wing now or soon will be at its Soldiers Delight MD redoubt.

While we have yet to see numbers of these, there has been a veritable explosion in VA and the Carolinas of Sleepy Orange and Common Buckeye; a little southerly flow and we should be seeing better flights of these migratory species here in the mid-Atlantic.

While they aren’t leps, DC/Baltimore readers might enjoy participating in the 2014 Cricket Crawl project Friday night (weather permitting), a sound census for eight target cricket and katydid species. See http://pick18.pick.uga.edu/cricket/DC/ for details.

Looks like Sunday will be a decent day for leps this weekend, so if you’re in the field please remember to post or send your sightings for the next Weekend Forecast. In the meantime, visit us at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ and on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.