Weekend Mid-Atlantic Lep Forecast for 2014 May 3-4

Mid-spring species began emerging last weekend and the upcoming weekend should show more of the same, assuming they didn’t drown in the week’s deluge.  Most of the region should see somewhat marginal conditions for butterfly watching, according to the current weather prognostication, with temperatures in the low 70s and partly sunny skies.  But this time of year even a few hours of bright sun are enough to bring out a host of new emergences.

That ubiquitous warm-season sprite, Eastern Tailed-blue, took to the wing more widely this weekend across the mid-Atlantic. As predicted in the last Forecast, Juniper Hairstreaks did indeed pop last weekend — colleagues and I had them at both Hoyles Mill in Montgomery Co MD and Merkle Wildlife Area in Prince George’s Co MD, and others found them as well.  Some other lycaenids of note, Henry’s, Eastern Pine, and Brown Elfins, were all seen in the past week, with large numbers of Browns on the ridges and hilltops of the Frederick Municipal Watershed. In all likelihood, Frosted Elfin should be emerging soon on the Eastern Shore; ditto for Hoary Elfin in Garrett Co MD where one finds its larval host, bearberry.  Hoary Elfin has already been seen on Long Island. In the NJ Pine Barrens, Hessel’s Hairstreak should be flying soon if not already on the wing (and Hoary Elfin can be found there too).

The early flight of “Spring” Summer Azure has just about collapsed; many habitats on the Coastal Plain and Piedmont went practically azure-less last weekend. In the western MD counties, though, probable Northern Azure (lucia)  was reported by several observers, and the giant Appalachian Azure should be out and about soon in moist woods with black cohosh from Frederick Co MD westward and northward into the mountains. Silvery Blue apparently is flying well in Green Ridge State Forest and at many other locations in the Northeast.

Duskywings are nowhere near as abundant so far this season as they normally are; the current Juvenal’s flight has been pretty sparse but may be picking up, and early Wild Indigo Duskywings are also already out. I have not yet had local reports of Horace’s.  Dreamy and Sleepy Duskywings continue to be reported widely to the north and west.  Cobweb Skipper is flying in Albemarle Co VA so should be looked for in its traditional haunts in Green Ridge State Forest and Soldiers Delight.

Sulphurs and even Cabbage Whites still seem to be experiencing a reduced spring flight; by contrast, this has been a good spring for Falcate Orangetips, but if you want to see them, you’d best be in the field in the next week or so as they already are quite tattered.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was reported from a number of mid-Atlantic locations this week, and Zebra Swallowtail numbers continue to build. Black Swallowtail singletons were reported in additional widely separated locations in the region. I expect this weekend to bring sightings of Pipevine and Spicebush Swallowtails.  There has been one early sighting reported of Appalachian Swallowtail with a photo record that I have not yet had a chance to peruse.

The number of American Snout reports to our south in VA and the Carolinas suggest a possible northward migration is underway, so keep a sharp lookout for these over the coming weeks, especially if we have some good southerly winds (without the accompanying monsoon rains). True to prediction, the first local Pearl Crescent sightings came in over the weekend, and the season’s first frit — a  Meadow Fritillary — was reported as well.I write this Forecast in the air over the Great Salt Lake, en route to eastern Washington state where I hope to squeeze in some good butterflies between conference sessions and over the weekend.  Moss’ Elfin, Desert Marble, Sheridan’s Green Hairstreak and Sara’s Orangetip are all on offer if I can get to the right places and the sun and temperature cooperate!  So I will rely on your field reports for next week’s mid-Atlantic Forecast.

Until then, feel free to follow sightings and information on the LepLog at https://leplog.wordpress.com or on MDLepsOdes on Google Groups.

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