Late May for me is usually the doldrums of the season for butterflies. The univoltine species are done for the year, except for the occasional tattered specimen (and woe to you if it’s a duskywing to start with); second broods are usually in caterpillar or pupal stage, and first-brood summer butterflies are only slowly emerging. Seems to comport with the general lack of nectar sources, too — milkweed and Indian hemp are just breaking bud around the DC area, but aside from cultivated flowers there’s not a lot in bloom except for ubiquitous clovers.
So I wasn’t surprised to visit Kenilworth Aquatic Garden today to find very little in flight — a few red admirals, a couple of spicebush swallowtails, some least skippers in the grass around the south-most ponds, and the usual cabbage whites. Best butterfly of the day by far was a lone silvery checkerspot nectaring on the white clover outside the inner compound. (Dick — this appears to be a DC record both for your lists and BAMONA)
That silvery checkerspot has pushed me into the low 30s for the Butterfly Big Year — 32, to be precise. But it’s going to be increasingly difficult to hit my target 100 species in the DC-MD-VA area this year given what I’ve missed. Some easy ones — brown elfin, for example — and some hard-to-get species like Appalachian grizzled skipper. So place your bets now on whether I can make the Hot Hundred by first frost!