For those of you headed out into the field over the long weekend, here are some notes that might influence your travels.
Spring flights of most species are over, and we won’t see many of the univoltines until next spring. Second broods are emerging for a number of common species, and we’re noticing the first push of southern migrants into the area. Things to watch for this long holiday weekend:
The area’s FOY Cloudless Sulphurs (Dorchester Co.; Little Bennett Regional Park) and Fiery Skippers (National Arboretum) were noted this week.
Grass skippers are showing up as second brood, with fresh Little Glassywing, Peck’s, and Dun Skippers on the wing across the area. New brood Zabulon is not yet noted as flying. Closer to the Bay and coast, Salt Marsh, Broad-winged, Aaron’s and Delaware Skippers were abundant at Eastern Neck NWR in the butterfly garden. Rare Skipper was nectaring on buttonbush along DeCoursey road last weekend. European Skippers are superabundant in Finzel Swamp and other western Maryland and West Virginia locations; Hobomok is just finishing up at Finzel but both Long Dash and Black Dash are in good flights.
On the swallowtail front, new broods of Black, Zebra, and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are on the wing, which means we should keep an eye out for Giant Swallowtail second brood. Like last year, Giant Swallowtails are being seen regularly in the Northeast (Maine, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont) and in the Carolinas. Here in the mid-Atlantic, Giants have been scarce, with sightings mostly along the Potomac at various locations, especially in western Maryland. Second brood has not yet been seen. Fresh Pipevine Swallowtails are working the huge Aristolochia vines over the National Herb Garden gazebos at the National Arboretum.
This is proving to be a banner year for Satyrium hairstreaks, especially Coral Hairstreak, which has been seen in numbers at various locations in the DC metro area (especially along the Northeast Branch trail in College Park) and in Delaware (along the MD/DE line near Delmar). Any patch of common milkweed or butterfly weed is worth checking out. Striped and Banded Hairstreaks are beginning to fade from a strong flight in June, but Edwards’ Hairstreak has just begun to fly in the Frederick Watershed Forest this past weekend; it has been flying for a few days longer than that in the Northeast states. Red-banded Hairstreak should be in a second brood soon if it isn’t already; this was a rather scarce species this spring. Olive Hairstreak should also be looked for about now in its second flight. The elusive King’s Hairstreak was not yet flying at its best-known location on the Eastern Shore, assuming of course that yours truly and colleagues overlooked it on our hunt for this species on June 29. It is, however, on the wing just to our south in Virginia and North Carolina. Great Purple Hairstreak is showing up on dogbane and buttonbush at its regular spots in Dorchester Co.
Common Buckeyes are beginning to show up in some numbers on the Eastern Shore, so should be expected most anywhere in the mid-Atlantic. A new brood of Red Admiral – rather scarce this spring – has emerged in various locations. Fresh American Lady has been spotted across the region, but Painted Lady is still very uncommon. None of these three species is present in anywhere like the huge irruptive numbers of 2012. Anglewings seem mostly to be in summer torpor; a fresh brood has emerged and was seen in mid-June but they will mostly aestivate during the hottest days of summer and re-emerge (and overwinter) later in the year. Common Wood Nymph is having a strong flight on the Eastern Shore, especially in the milkweed field across from the temporary visitor center at Blackwater NWR. This is an exceptionally dark, almost black, form. And here’s a reminder that Harry Pavulaan is interested in hearing about any fresh flights of Little Wood Satyr in the DC area and suburbs after July 1.
Hackberry and Tawny Emperors are flying and can be expected most anywhere hackberry and sugarberry trees are found, especially along watercourses. Locations along the C&O Canal would be a likely spot. Second brood Viceroy is emerging; look for it around willows. Baltimore Checkerspots have been reported in many locations around the state this season, including Montgomery, Frederick and Garrett counties. Good locations are Little Bennett Regional Park near the Kinglsey Road parking lot and in the fields past the boardwalk at Finzel Swamp. They’re still pretty fresh. The Bath Co. VA count also logged Diana Fritillary. Aphrodite Fritillary is freshly on the wing at Big Meadow in the Shenandoah NP. Atlantis Fritillary, Common Ringlet and Pink-edged Sulphur were abundant last weekend at Spruce Knob Lake WV.
Not reported yet this year but expected any day now are Northern Metalmark in Green Ridge State Forest (fresh brood is emerging in VA and was noted on last week’s Bath Co NABA count), Bronze Copper on the Eastern Shore, and Little Yellow most anywhere on the Coastal Plain or Piedmont. Last summer’s incursion of Dainty Sulphur isn’t going to repeat, it appears, but observers should look for it in last summer’s locations. Checkered White seems even more scarce than usual this season; perhaps someone will report a second brood sightings in the next couple weeks (mid-July seems to be the beginning for that brood).
2013 Fort Indiantown Gap PA Regal Fritillary and Grassland Tours are Friday July 5, Saturday July 6, Thursday July 11, and Friday July 12.
Feedback on whether you find this weekend forecast of interest would be appreciated. Please let me know what you find over the weekend so I can share it with others in future weekend forecasts, and I hope to run into you in the field!
College Park, MD
Follow mid-Atlantic butterfly sightings at https://leplog.wordpress.com and on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.