Weekend Lep Forecast for 2014 March 29-30

Tom Ostrowski's 2014 March 21 sighting of Eastern Comma in Chapman State Park, Charles Co MD

Tom Ostrowski’s 2014 March 21 sighting of Eastern Comma in Chapman State Park, Charles Co MD

Another dicey weekend forecast is shaping up after our week of wintry weather: somewhat warming temperatures but rain – sometimes chilly rain – on Saturday and Sunday. These March forecasts are tricky, though, so we might get a combination of temperatures near normal (50’s-low 60’s) and some sunshine, most likely on Sunday. But it’s not looking good.

Just before the latest cold snap, though, a lot of new FOYs cropped up throughout the East.

Here in Maryland we saw the emergence of the first non-adult-overwintering butterflies, Cabbage White in Howard Co. and an unidentified sulphur in Montgomery Co. at Dickerson Conservation Park. Eastern Commas were seen in a number of places locally, including the US National Arboretum and Charles Co.

Eastern Comma and Mourning Cloak sightings extended well up through PA, to NY, and into CT last weekend. To the south, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, azures, and a strong flight of Juvenal’s Duskywings were abroad in South Carolina, with Palamedes Swallowtail, Gemmed Satyr and Red-banded Hairstreak all observed in Francis Marion National Forest. Henry’s Elfin and White M Hairstreaks were reported in both Carolinas, and a Great Purple Hairstreak joined continuing White M Hairstreaks near Spartansburg SC.   Meanwhile, in the Raleigh NC region the first Falcate Orangetips were out.

Given a few more days of temperatures in the 60’s, the next two weeks could bring cherry blossoms and the first azures to the DC area, along with orangetips, Cabbage Whites, sulphurs, and possibly early elfins. My own prediction for this spring will be that we’ll have a lot of activity compressed into a short period – early fliers will emerge late and mingle with mid-season and late-season spring species.

Hope to see you in the field looking for them, and be sure to share your sightings on your favorite listserv (especially if that favorite listserv happens to be MDLepsOdes on Google Groups!).

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