Butterfly Field Forecast for Week of 2017 June 24

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Aaron’s Skipper feeding on the abundant buttonbush in the butterfly garden at Eastern Neck NWR. Photo by Tom Stock [2017 June 20]

It’s seldom this happens this early in the season, but for the past week no new FOYs were reported for our area (to me, anyway). But we did see good flights of some of the coastal/marsh skippers — Dion, Delaware, Aaron’s, Broad-winged — and some of the western MD specialties, including Long Dash, Baltimore Checkerspot, and Harris’ Checkerspot.  Horace’s Duskwing is also out in rather substantial numbers, in many places more common than Wild Indigo Duskywing!

In somewhat related news, though, Hackberry Emperor has been added to the list of butterflies known to occur in Wicomico Co MD (Tawny is still MIA there).  Check it out in the “recent photos” collection of the Maryland Biodiversity Project, https://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/viewThumbnails.php?recent=1

Otherwise, it’s the usual suspects, but a good mix of them.  All the expected swallowtails are flying — Black, Pipevine, Spicebush, Zebra, Eastern Tiger — only Giant Swallowtail is yet to be reported for the season.

Blues and coppers are normally limited this time of year to Eastern Tailed-blue (in low numbers this season), Summer Azure in relative abundance, lingering Appalachian Azure, and a few new-brood American Copper.  Bronze Copper has not been reported yet this season locally but did make the NJ list this week so ought to be out in Delmarva.  Hairstreaks include dwindling numbers of Banded and Striped, a few Red-banded and Gray, and some very nice Coral Hairstreaks in ones and twos.  I’m willing to bet good money that Bog Copper is flying in the cranberry bogs of Garrett Co and adjacent WV; hoping to check on it this weekend.

Among the brushfoots we’re still missing Common Wood Nymph, but Little Wood Satyr is on the wing.  Pearly-eyes and Appalachian Browns were missing this week.  I may have missed it but still haven’t had a report this season of Carolina Satyr.  Viceroy and Red-spotted Purple are on the wing, as are both Emperors, Hackberry and Tawny. Fritillaries are about to stage their annual takeover, with Great Spangled, Meadow and Variegated well represented.  Dianas (males only so far) are likely out along their preferred dirt lanes in Appalachia, and if you haven’t gone yet, the Regal Fritillaries at the Ft. Indiantown Gap (PA) open house next weekend and following are not to be missed.  Our western MD fritillaries are probably just emerging, Atlantis and Aphrodite; Atlantis reports have come in from WV.  Silver-bordered Fritillary dropped off the list this week.  Common Buckeye is, well, common right now.  American Snouts are also picking up this week.  Harris’ Checkerspot was recorded in a couple of locations.  Baltimore Checkerspot was seen in one location not yet reported this year.  Pearl Crescents are the go-to checkerspot-ish butterfly normally on the wing, now but it’s had a rather slow flight this generation as well.

Pierids continue to disappoint.  Nothing much from the migratory species this week, Little Yellow and Cloudless Sulphur.  Pink-edged Sulphur is still flying strong in the bogs in WV (Canaan Valley and Spruce Knob are the go-to locales for this specialty).  A few Sleepy Oranges have been reported, but not a good early flight. Small (Cabbage) Whites are around most everywhere but not in great numbers.

Skippers include the afore-mentioned strong flight of Horace’s Duskywing, one of the best I’ve ever seen.  Dreamy Duskywing is still flying in a couple of western MD locations.  Loads of grass skippers; only Sachem seems to be in short supply although Hobomok and Zabulon are fading fast.  Dun Skipper and Little Glassywing are especially abundant, with Crossline a close third.  Around the coastal marshes, we’ve had reports of Aaron’s, Broad-winged, Delaware, and Dion; Salt Marsh is somewhat scarce this season.  Indian Skipper and Long Dash reports came in from the mountains, and I suspect that Black Dash is flying there as well.  Mulberry Wing was reported from NJ, perhaps it will show up on the western Montgomery Co (MD) count this weekend.  Dotted Skipper also showed up this week on the NJ rolls.  Essex (European) Skipper was reported from MD.

Notable Nectar:  To milkweeds and thistles this week add knapweeds coming into flower.  Devil’s walking stick is breaking bud and will be the premier hairstreak magnet when it blooms.

Tropical Storm Cindy will make the early part of the weekend a wet one, bad news for the western Montgomery Co count, already postponed once from last weekend.  The good news is that it may blow through quickly and leave a good chunk of Saturday decently clear.  There’s also a Saturday walk scheduled at Tinicum NWR just outside Philadelphia; if this is on your radar screen you’d probably best contact the leader to make sure it’s still happening.  Also slated for Saturday is the Eastern Frederick Co/western Carroll Co (MD) count.  If you kick something up in the deluge, or venture out after the rains (Sunday and Monday promise to be excellent weather for butterflies), you can leave your sightings as a comment here at  https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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Butterfly Field Forecast for Week of 2017 June 17

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A pristine Pink-edged Sulphur from Canaan Valley, NWR, Tucker County, WV 6-11-17.  Photo is from a visit by Matt Orsie that also yielded Essex (European) Skippers. Harris’ Checkerspots, Common Ringlets and others.

The very warm weather brought, as expected, a burst of new butterfly activity, producing new satyrium hairstreaks Coral Hairstreak and Striped Hairstreak, Silver-bordered Fritillary, Harris’ Checkerspot, Common Ringlet, Atlantis Fritillary, Black Dash, Baltimore Checkerspot, and Fiery Skipper.

The Coral and Striped Hairstreaks led off a pretty clean sweep of expected hairstreaks this week that included Gray, Red-banded, and Banded.  A good number of Appalachian Azures were observed ovipositing on black cohosh last weekend in Gambrill SP, where Summer Azure was abundant.  Eastern Tailed-blue is surprisingly scarce this cycle. The ANS foray to Frederick Watershed Forest failed to turn up Edwards’ Hairstreak, although the season there was still pretty early.

Fritillaries were out and about, including Meadow, Variegated, Great Spangled and the FOYs Atlantis  and Silver-bordered Fritillary (in WV).  Silvery Checkerspot seems already to have crashed; Pearl Crescents are also conspicuously uncommon.  Baltimore Checkerspots emerged on cue.  Both emperors — Hackberry and Tawny — are flying; so is Viceroy and Red-spotted Purple.  Satyrids this week included Northern Pearly-eye, Appalachian Brown and Little Wood Satyr; this weekend will probably produce the FOY sightings of Common Wood Nymph.  Singleton reports of Monarchs and a few Monarch caterpillars came in.  American and Painted Ladies were both on the wing.  Snouts are showing up regularly.

New skippers this week included Fiery in the DC area and Black Dash to the west.  Indian Skippers are fresh in the areas around Frederick; Zabulon and Hobomok are already winding down.  Long Dash is flying well.  Sachem isn’t; just a handful of sightings.  With a bit of luck the counters on this weekend’s Western Montgomery Co (MD) NABA count will see newly emerged Mulberry WingsEssex (European) Skipper is flying well but not in the stupendous numbers it sometimes displays.  Northern Cloudywings were common in the Catoctin Mountains last weekend; a single report of Southern Cloudywing was noted.  Fading Dreamy Duskywings were on the wing there as well.

All the usual swallowtails are out; Palamedes hasn’t been reported but is almost certainly flying in the Pocomoke River drainage.  No Giant Swallowtails have been sighted.

Pink-edged Sulphur (a mere 15 miles from Maryland in WV!) was the only pierid of note.

 

Notable Nectar:  Two words: thistles and milkweeds (including butterflyweed and dogbane)..

The weekend is a dicey one for the annual counts in Western Montgomery Co (MD) and Sky Meadows/Thompson (VA), but there should be some sunny interludes.   If you venture out in one of them and see anything interesting, you can leave your sightings as a comment here at  https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 June 10

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Southern Broken-dash nectaring in vetch from Governor Bridge Natural Area in Prince George’s Co MD. [2017 June 4, observed by Jared Satchell]

The terrific couple days of sunshine brought out a few new characters for the weekly sightings list, including Harris’ Checkerspot, Southern Broken-dash, and confirmed Appalachian Azure.

This week, all the expected grass skippers were out and about:  Peck’s, Hobomok, Zabulon, Tawny-edged, Dun, Swarthy, Little Glassywing, and now Southern Broken-dash among them.  Both Northern and Southern Cloudywings were reported, as were late Dusted Skippers in serpentine barrens near the eastern MD/PA border.  Silver-spotted Skippers are in peak flight just now.  Least Skipper is flying well now too, and given the rank vegetation aided by the spring’s ample rains, they are venturing out into normally drier areas away from the marshy edges and watery ditches they favor, where they might sometimes be confused from a ventral aspect with non-wetland species like Essex (European) Skipper.  The lazy weak flight and frail aspect of Least are a dead give-away when compared with the frenetic, more robust Essex Skippers if you don’t see the uppersides (which are distinctive for both species).

A second brood of American Coppers is on the wing, and Bronze Copper is likely flying but has not yet been reported.  Still a rather paltry Eastern Tailed-blue flight currently on the wing, while it’s a real boom year for the first summer generation of Summer Azure. Appalachian Azures were observed ovipositing on the emerging flowers of black cohosh, but don’t make the mistake of assuming every azure dropping eggs on cohosh is an Appalachian.  I noted two Summer Azures also ovipositing in the same patch of cohosh as the Appalachians.  We should also be seeing Olive (Juniper) Hairstreaks but no reports came in.

Another week has gone by without a confirmed local Viceroy; ditto for Baltimore Checkerspot, both of which should be on the wing.  A number of us sifted through the crescents flying in Washington and Allegany Cos. this weekend; all could be referenced easily to Pearl Crescent despite wide variation in size and dorsal markings.  Harris’ Checkerspot showed up in western MD this week.  Few Great Spangled Fritillaries were reported despite last week’s early sightings; Variegated Fritillaries were sparingly noted as well.  Buckeyes seem to be resurging (or migrating northward); Red-spotted Purples were quite common along back roads in Washington Co (MD) last weekend and reported widely region-side over the week.  And also confounding early predictions, the Silvery Checkerspot flight has been modest at best so far.  By contrast, Little Wood Satyrs seem to be everywhere this week and in good numbers; there were also scattered reports of Northern Pearly-eye and Appalachian Brown.  While Hackberry Emperor was reported, we await our FOY Tawny Emperors.

Fresh Zebra Swallowtails continue to emerge but not in large numbers.  A second flight of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails is on the wing; the univoltine flight of Appalachian Tiger Swallowtails is either late or was very small this spring.  Fresh Pipevine Swallowtails are out, as are fresh Black Swallowtails, but the most common swallowtail throughout most of the mid-Atlantic now is Spicebush, which is having a terrific second generation.  Still no Giant Swallowtails, although they are flying in New England.

No unusual sightings of pierids came in this week beyond a single confirmed Sleepy OrangeCheckered White is MIA this season so far but probably on the wing.  Little Yellow has not yet made an appearance but could show up any day.

Moth Report:  Of special note this week are Io and Royal Walnut Moths;  tiger moths including Virginian, Banded, Isabella, and Agreeable; many sightings of Large Lace Border Moth; various pug and slug moths; and Polyphemus, Tulip-tree, and Luna silk moths.  Rosy Maple Moth and Pink-striped Oakworm Moth were also seen at several locations.  Of particular interest is this report from Tim Reichard:  Last Friday 6/2, Sue Muller, Rod Burley, and I surveyed areas near the Patuxent Research Refuge North Tract Visitor Contact Station in Anne Arundel County for nocturnal moths.  One species that showed up is Monochroa quinquepunctella, a twirler moth species (Gelechiidae) with no prior records in the state in any of the BAMONA, BugGuide, Moth Photographers Group, Maryland Biodiversity Project, iNaturalist, and BOLD Systems databases.  It was described in 1903 from a specimen from Pennsylvania in June.

Notable Nectar:  In addition to first blooms on dogbane and milkweed, clovers continue to dominate the nectar scene with other legumes including crown vetch and other vetches.  Clethra is already budding out and should be in bloom in swamps across coastal plain and piedmont in the next two weeks.  Buttonbush is beginning to bloom as well. Golden Alexanders attracts some woodland nectaring action.  Ox-eye Daisies are the draw in many of the western counties just now.

A warm — even hot — summer weekend is on tap, so please report any finds you see for the next Forecast.  I’ll be leading a foray for Audubon Naturalist Society on Saturday to the forests north and east of Frederick (MD), where we’re hoping for Edwards’ Hairstreak, and we’ll post our findings.  You can leave your sightings as a comment here at  https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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Dates Set for 2017 Ft Indiantown Gap (PA) Regal Fritillary Tours

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Regal Fritillary at a past FIG Open House/Grasslands Tour.

From the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs comes the following information about the 2017 dates for the Regal Frit tour, something of a hegira for lep folks in the East:

The dates for 2017 Fort Indiantown Gap (FIG) Regal Fritillary Butterfly and Grassland Tours are:

June 30 (Friday),

July 1 (Saturday),

July 7 (Friday), and

July 8 (Saturday).

Please, arrive by 9:30 am to fill out required paperwork. The orientation and safety brief begins at 9:45 a.m. and the tour group leaves from the Picnic grove/USO Liberty Center promptly at 10 a.m. The tour will be approximately 3 hours long; attendees can leave the field tour earlier if needed.

Please, make sure that you have the information for THIS YEAR (2017) as press releases and web postings from previous years are still floating around the Internet. Up-to-date information and related materials can be found on our website: Regal Fritillary Butterfly at Fort Indiantown Gap

If you are traveling using Interstate 81, please use the Fort Indiantown Gap exit (# 85 or 85B depending on your direction of travel). There will be “Wildlife Events” signs with arrows directing you to the USO Liberty Center/Picnic Grove (immediately to the east of the intersection of Asher Miner Road, Clement Avenue, and State Route 443). Location of USO Liberty Building and Picnic Grove

Follow the instructions given by parking attendants. Participants will park around the Picnic Grove, directly across Clement Avenue from the USO Liberty Building. If you have requirements related to parking, walking, accessibility accommodations, or a large group, then let us know (email or phone beforehand or advise parking attendants) and we will make accommodations as best as we are able.

Be prepared to provide vehicle make, model, year, and color, license plate number, state, and insurance carrier (Section C of attached release statement). If possible, please fill out prior to your arrival.

After the brief orientation, tour attendees will caravan/convoy to the grassland habitat. All participants must be escorted by Wildlife or Training Center staff as the grassland habitat areas are restricted areas. While the focus of the tour is the Regal Fritillary Butterfly, we will draw attention to other insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and native plants found in the grassland habitat areas. This walking tour (100 feet to 1.5 miles) is for all ages, abilities, levels of butterfly identification skills, and will follow gravel trails and field mowed grass trails. We provide educational activities, entertainment, and special features for children. Feel free to bring your cameras, biting insect repellent, sun screen, and other personal comfort items. Drinking water will be provided.

Reservations or pre-registrations are not required and the tour is FREE. No rain dates will be made. The event is rain or shine…with the caveat that butterflies typically hide in vegetation and are not as active while it is raining!

If you have additional questions please feel free to send us an email (preferred method) or call the below phone number (connected to an answering machine). We will try to respond as quickly as possible; however, the adult regals will soon be flying so we are in the field most of the day.

We look forward to seeing you, your family, and friends this summer.

Thank you,

Fort Indiantown Gap Wildlife Office

PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

Conservation Division

Building 11-19 Utility Road

RA-DMVA-Wildlife@pa.gov (preferred method)

717-861-2449 (answering machine for questions)

 

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Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 June 3

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Mating Silvery Checkerspots in a photo by Richard Orr from the Patuxent North Refuge (Anne Arundel Co MD). [2017 May 26].  Note especially the white “windows” in the dark spots along the trailing edge of the topside hindwing when viewing this butterfly from above.

All it takes is just a little bit of sunshine to set things popping, which we had at the end of this week:  Great Spangled Fritillary, Long Dash, Hackberry Emperor, Northern Pearly-eye, and Silvery Checkerspot all showed up locally in the past week.

The Great Spangled Fritillary report came from Green Ridge State Forest in MD, as did the Hackberry Emperor.  There were other good nymphalid sightings, although a fresh Comma, a worn Question Mark and fresh Red-spotted Purples made the list this week.  Silvery Checkerspots are out in good numbers now, and the new brood of Pearl Crescents (nominally at least) is going gangbusters in western MD.  Given decent weather this weekend I’m pretty sure we’ll see a couple of Viceroys locally for the tally next week.  Little Wood-satyrs seem to be everywhere this week.  A single Variegated Fritillary report makes the list. As if summoned out of the ether by last week’s Forecast, Northern Pearly-eye showed up immediately across the region.

Skippers continue to dominate the newly seen, with recently emerged Indian Skipper and Long Dash at Finzel Swamp (MD) and Hoary Edge in its go-to location in Green Ridge SF.  Despite the return of good stands of New Jersey Tea to the Green Ridge roadsides (thanks to less-aggressive mowing regimes and possibly deer cull), we have been unable to find MD Mottled Duskywing for some decades now.  If you know of good stands of New Jersey Tea, now would be the time to check for this distinctive duskywing.  Also of note this week are some still quite fresh Dreamy Duskywings in most western county sites that were checked.

This would be the week to start looking for Giant Swallowtail, although none have been reported yet.  Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are beginning their second generation (and it looks like it will be a big flight), yet so far no definitive Appalachian Tigers have been reported (although there have been candidates but not photographed or observed in hand).  Spicebush Swallowtails are abundant most everywhere, a fresh generation of Pipevine Swallowtails is on the wing, and the new flight of Zebra Swallowtails is just emerging.  Fresh Black Swallowtails are out, too.

Hairstreak sightings were scarce this week, except for the welcome report of an Eastern Shore Banded Hairstreak to kick off the official Satyrium Season.  Red-banded Hairstreak was also reported widely.  Summer Azures have kicked in with a strong new flight, but we’re still mostly between Eastern Tailed-blue broods (you’ll all remember this critter did not do too well last year).

New flights of Orange and Clouded Sulphurs are out, and Small (Cabbage) Whites continues to build in numbers.  One field in Green Ridge SF had several albino Colias white form females on the wing with no orange morph males or females in evidence.

Moth Report:  Of special note this week are Pine Devil Moth and Plebian Sphinx, along with continued saturniid sightings of Tuliptree Silk-moth, Polyphemus, and Luna Moth.  The Eastern Tent Caterpillars that were so abundant earlier in the season are now flying as adults.

Notable Nectar:  Milkweed and dogbane are both coming on, just in time for Satyrium hairstreaks.  But the real magnet for these butterflies is butterfly weed, Asclepias, and it is now coming into bloom as well.  New Jersey Tea is a draw wherever it is found.  A second good flush of red and white clovers is pulling in good butterflies, as are the tall white and yellow sweetclovers, Melilotus.  Various viburnums are also in peak bloom.  Buttonbush staggers its bloom over the next month or so beginning now; this is especially powerful attracting swallowtails and swamp and marsh skippers.

It appears we finally get a break from the gloom of the past few weeks, so please report your finds for the next Forecast. You can leave your sightings as a comment here at  https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 May 27 (Memorial Day Weekend)

First report this year of Aaron’s Skipper, this one headfirst in a bindweed flower in Talbot Co MD’s Bill Burton State Park [2017 May 24, photo by Jared Satchell]

The combination of the late-May lull (most of the spring generations are done, the spring univoltines are gone for another year, and many summer butterflies have not yet emerged) and the cool and cloudy weather have conspired to keep our field sightings to a bare handful this week.

Among them is the report of final instar Great Spangled Fritillaries, roaming away from their violet host plants in search of places to pupate.  This should put Great Spangleds on the wing in about two weeks.  Appalachian Brown and Viceroy showed up as FOY species this week, both in southern NJ.  I strongly suspect that any sunshine this weekend will bring out Common Wood Nymph, and Pearly-eyes will also be flying.  Carolina Satyr joined look-alike Little Wood-nymph on the wing this week.

Skipper-wise, a few more Hayhurst’s Scallopwings were reported.  Along the coast, Salt Marsh Skippers were on the wing.  Tawny-edged Skipper, Aaron’s and Delaware Skipper joined the grass skippers already about this week:  Peck’s, Sachem, Zabulon, Indian, Hobomok, and Dun.

Moth Report:  Virginia Creeper Sphinx was a notable sighting this week, as were Waved, Abbott’s and Elm Sphinx.  Elsewhere, some other moths of note were Common Angle Moth, Wood Leopard Moth, Giant Leopard Moth, Snowberry Clearwing, Hickory Tussock Moth, various Euchlaena moths, and the first plume moth I’ve had on the list this season, Morning Glory Plume Moth.  Among saturniids, Luna Moth and Polyphemus were reported.  Tim Reichard had some 50 moth species still hanging out at noon around the Citgo lights on I-68 in Green Ridge State Forest a week ago.

Notable Nectar:  Common milkweed is budding and probably beginning to open on the Eastern Shore; ditto for dogbane.  Japanese Honeysuckle is well into bloom, and attracting swallowtails and some of the larger skippers in addition to hummingbird moths and other sphingids. Yarrows and Ox-eye Daisies attract crescents and skippers, especially in the western MD counties.  A good place to look for hairstreaks this week will be on meadow rue, which is flowering now.  Privet is also in bloom and will be productive, especially in the sun; this week will probably see the first flowers of bottlebrush buckeye, which usually attracts the second generation of White-M Hairstreaks. 

The bad-weather weekends keep on coming; Memorial Day weekend is unstable and unsettled with a good chance of rain all three days.  The warmer weather though means there will be butterflies on the wing in any brief sunny interludes over the weekend; if you luck into anything of interest before next Friday,  please let us know for the next Forecast. You can leave your sightings as a comment here at  https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2017 May 20

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A terrific image of Southern Cloudywing from the lower Eastern Shore of MD showing so well the white “bends” of the antennae that are characteristic of this cloudywing. On blackberry (or related bramble), naturally. [2017 May 17, photo by Jared Satchett]

Headliners this week are skippers again:  More Northern and Southern Cloudywings, a banner Common Sootywing flight, and FOY Dun and Tawny-edged SkippersDusted Skippers are still out for those who have not seen them yet, Common Roadside-skippers were regularly seen, and Frosted Elfin has finally been reported locally.

The Eastern Shore of MD brought double-digit sightings of Common Sootywings in a single location, but sootywings were reported throughout the region this week.  Northern and Southern Cloudywings were both observed on the lower Eastern Shore (on bramble flowers, of course, exactly where you would expect them).  Singleton reports of both Dun and Tawny-edged Skippers came in, supplemented by widespread reports of Peck’s, Zabulon, and Sachem skippers.

In addition to the Frosted Elfin sighting (also on the MD Eastern Shore), a few straggler reports of Eastern Pine Elfin and Brown Elfin trickled in, but these will probably be the last we see until next year.  A new brood of Gray Hairstreak is flying, Red-banded Hairstreaks are well on the wing, Eastern Tailed-blues are peaking to abundance, and clearly the first generation of Summer Azure was fecund because a big flight of new azures is emerging now.  Just to our south, a new brood of Juniper Hairstreak is out.

Pierid reports this week were unremarkable, except for a rapid uptick this week of the new brood of Small (Cabbage) Whites.  This is the time of year we often see our first Checkered Whites, too, typically considered a “ruderal” species — a butterfly that colonizes disturbed lands, so its population in any one spot is inconstant at best. Check out any darker-looking Small Whites that look “lost” on roadsides, new subdivisions, and last year’s construction sites.

More Little Wood-Satyr reports came in; likely Carolina Satyr is mixed in among them in some locations.  Carolina could show up just about anywhere in the area these days.

Except for scattered reports of Variegated Fritillaries, the fritillary list is quite sparse this week.  Red-spotted Purples are around, but certainly not in a large first brood.  Viceroy should be reported this week.  Monarch singletons continue moving through en route to the parasite-free milkweed fields of the north.  Anglewings were in short supply.

New Zebra Swallowtail adults should be emerging in numbers in the next two weeks; Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is mostly between flights.  Dark swallowtails are most likely to be either Pipevine or Spicebush, both of which are out in various stages of wear; fresh Black Swallowtails are beginning to emerge.

Moth Report:  New sphinxes are showing up, Pawpaw and Lettered Sphinx among them.  The strikingly patterned Scallop Shell Moths are on the wing, as are early season tiger moths (Arctiidae).  As I noted last week, Tuliptree Silk Moth was probably out, and indeed it was reported this week.

Notable Nectar:  Brambles are still going strong in some locations.  Various clovers are going now, and dogbane is budding out and even beginning to break bud in some locations (note to lepsters:  always check even unopened dogbane flowers; hairstreaks in particular probe these mature buds for nectar or extrafloral carbohydrates).  Virginia Sweetspire should be checked for Great Purple Hairstreak.  The great showstopper, of course, is mountain laurel, of particular interest to swallowtails.

It’s a dicey weekend coming up for butterflies; there will be some sunspots but overall it will likely be more cloudy than not through most of the region. Night lights for moths may be much more productive, especially as the moon wanes.  If you find anything of interest before next Friday,  please let us know for the next Forecast. You can leave your sightings as a comment here at  https://leplog.wordpress.com/ or by posting to Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.

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