Harry LeGrand, veteran lep guru and all-round naturalist from NC, posted to carolinaleps and NABA-chat recently just how far behind the East Coast is for the 2013 flight season:
Here in North Carolina, in a warm winter/spring like in 2012, serious butterflying can be underway by late February or early March. In a normal spring, things start popping here (5 or more species in a few hours) by mid-March. This year has seen a very cold period from mid-February to now, and it will continue into early April. Basically, spring hasn’t truly come to NC yet, and it is March 22! The Northeast and Midwest keep getting pummeled by snow.
So, I was curious to see how butterfly records in NC this year , so far, compared to the quite early 2012.
2013 — Jan. 1 – Mar. 20 = 84 records in NC (reported by all folks on carolinaleps listserve)
2012 — Jan. 1 – Mar. 20 = 351 records.
So, this roughly means that there were 4.17 times as many butterflies flying last year than this year, as of this date! Alternatively, there have been 24% the number of butterfly records in 2013 than there were at this time last year. No surprise to me!
If you have seen no butterflies yet, or just a couple, like me, you aren’t alone. I guess things are averaging maybe 10-14 days late this year — certainly at least a week late.