Things are slowing down a great deal as we move into October, so this will be the last weekly Lep Forecast of the season.
A few highlights are still surprising us. A rather late brood of Meadow Fritillary is on the wing; the picture above came from the suburban Silver Spring MD yard of Tom Stock this week. They’ve been reported in relatively fresh condition from NC and VA (along the Blue Ridge) as well as from the Northeast states.
Swallowtails are nearly finished, but I neglected to mention in the last Forecast that one Giant Swallowtail had been seen in Howard Co. MD on Sept. 3; the report was late coming to me but it’s possible they are still on the wing.
No new southern migrants have appeared over the past week; a couple of Ocola Skippers were picked up on an ANS field trip to St. Mary’s Co MD last weekend. But numbers are quite low compared with other years, in line with the poor showing of other southern specialties like Little Yellow, Common Buckeye, Long-tailed Skipper, and Eufala Skipper. We really haven’t had any significant weather systems that would facilitate northward movement of butterflies, so I guess this is to be expected. But numbers are down farther south as well. Variegated Fritillaries and Sleepy Oranges prove the exceptions to the rule, with regular sightings all over the region this week.
As reported last week, Yehl Skipper is still flying quite strongly in VA and NC.
There were more than 100 Monarchs at the roosting area along Stites Ave. in Cape May NJ Tuesday night; Monarch Monitoring Project staff suspect there are a number of other local roosting sites and report numbers of Monarchs coming through the Cape are building every day.
I’m making one last foray into the field this weekend – the weather should be fine – for Bronze Copper. As if.
Thanks for reading the Forecast this year. And thanks too for the many reports that helped me reach my MD Butterfly Big Year goal of 100 species, and even exceed it to (as of today) total 104!
Be sure to let me know what you’re seeing in the field next season so I can share it with other readers of the 2014 Forecasts, and of course if you see something spectacular yet this season tell me so I can pass it along! Follow mid-Atlantic butterfly sightings at https://leplog.wordpress.com and on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.