Last gasps of a few spring species made their (probably final) appearances this week as well, so we bid goodbye to the last of the elfins, “spring” Summer Azure, Spring Azure, West Virginia White and Mourning Cloak (although the summer brood will emerge soon and promptly aestivate until the cooler weather of autumn).
Little Bennett in Montgomery Co MD was the place to be for the first Baltimore Checkerspot of the year along the Western Piedmont Trail. Summer forms of Comma and Question Mark are flying, Viceroy was observed this weekend, and Red-spotted Purple is making a good showing for its first brood. Monarchs should have a good flight, given the dozens of late-stage cats that were observed in an extensive milkweed field in Worcester Co MD. First-brood Pearl Crescents are already winding down, but the first Silvery Checkerspots showed up over the weekend. So too did the season’s first Great Spangled Fritillaries, in southern PG county. The first report of Hackberry Emperor came in from near Charles Town, WV.
Some skippers are wrapping up, notably Juvenal’s and first generation Horace’s, as well as Dreamy and Sleepy Duskywings. But Wild Indigo Duskywing is flying, although not in large numbers this season. Cloudywings continued to dominate the skipper sightings board, with both Northern and Southern Cloudywings reported across the region. So far no Confused Cloudywings in our area. Hoary Edge was reported from Green Ridge State Forest, as were Common Roadside-skippers. Females of both Hobomok and Zabulon Skipper, which emerge a week or so after the males, were both out over the weekend, including the dark female “pocahantas” form of Hobomok. A surprising colony of Pepper and Salt Skippers, already pretty worn, popped up in Frederick Co on Catoctin Mountain. Dusted Skipper made surprising appearances in both Worcester and Prince George’s Co.
Other grass skippers had a great week, too, with observations of Peck’s, Dun, Tawny-edged, Least, Common Checkered-skipper and Sachem.
Satyrs are on the wing, with a large emergence this week of Little Wood Satyr, good numbers of Northern Pearly-eye, and continuing Carolina Satyr (and a note to all field observers to look critically at the Little Wood Satyrs, as Carolina Satyr in the past few years has made an aggressive push into Maryland). Common Ringlet is flying in WV and should be looked for in western Maryland, as its range continues to expand.
On the Swallowtail front, no new sightings of Giant Swallowtail this weekend. Palamedes Swallowtail is flying in the cypress swamp areas of Worcester Co MD. Summer-brood Zebra Swallowtails are already out, flying alongside fading, tattered, first-generation, short-tailed specimens.
Late azures include the newly-emerging Appalachian Azure and Northern Azure, which is still flying in Garrett Co. Summer Azure is coming out for its second brood.
Predictions: This next week should see the emergence of a host of hairstreaks, including Great Purple, Banded, Striped, and Coral Hairstreaks in addition to true hairstreak rarities like Oak Hairstreak. Some of the coastal skippers – Rare and Salt-marsh – could show up in the marshes. The great floppy Common Wood-nymph should be seen bobbing up and down in tall meadows. The remaining two of the “three witches” should be on the prowl with fellow witch, Dun Skipper: Northern Broken-dash and Little Glassywing. Crossline Skipper and Southern Broken-dash should be joining them.
There will be a Butterfly/Ode Walk this Saturday 5/30 at the Heinz NWR at Tinicum located near the Philadelphia Airport. The walk will meet at 9AM at the Rt 420 Entrance to the Refuge. This event is free and open to the public. For more information on this and other Tinicum events go to: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/John_Heinz/visit/upcomingevents.html
You’ll miss me in the field the next two weekends as I head off in search of Wisconsin and Minnesota butterflies, including Karner Blue, but please remember to share your sightings with us using the comment function on LepLog.wordpress.com or join us for discussion on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.