It wasn’t the best of weather last weekend for butterfly observation, but it was hopping for birds, so I hope many of you are dual-purpose naturalists and spent time with the warbler waves that came through. That may account for the relatively sparse new sightings this weekend; things certainly have calmed down a great deal, and this next weekend is unlikely to produce too many new first-of-year sightings. Clouds and rain on Saturday will dampen field work, but Mother’s Day looks like it might produce a fair amount of sunshine.
Nearing the end of their 2014 flight are a number of the early univoltine species, so this may be the last weekend to see some of the elfins in the DC area – Eastern Pine, Brown, and Henry’s. Frosted Elfin is being observed well into Massachusetts now, so is almost certainly flying near Furnacetown, MD, where lupine colonies are relatively common. Hoary Elfin reports also are coming in from the Northeast, so it would be worthwhile looking for them this weekend too – I intend to do just that in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, if the weather cooperates. West Virginia Whites, Olympia Marble, and Falcate Orangetips are likely on their metaphorical last legs as well.
Wild Indigo Duskywing sightings outnumbered Juvenal’s Duskywing this past week, but that may be because Juvenal’s are sort of ho-hum and Wild Indigo is just emerging. Silver-spotted Skipper showed up at Chincoteague and will probably emerge locally this weekend. Also in Chincoteague was the first (female) Monarch of the year, ovipositing on milkweed in a garden. Baltimore Checkerspots locally seem to be about half-way through their caterpillar stage, which should produce adults on the wing in early June.
American Snouts continued to show up in widespread locations as single individuals, not as the broad migrant push, but it will be worthwhile to keep an eye out. American Coppers have been reported from NJ and up the coast into Massachusetts so should be out now locally. Red Admirals seem to have bypassed the area but are being seen with some frequency in the Northeast; there’s one report from a garden center in NJ. None of the other usual northward migrants – Variegated Fritillary, American Lady, Painted Lady – are being seen yet aside from a few scattered reports here, but there’s been a spate of reports of American Lady on the South Jersey B/Log (see the site in the Blog Roll on the right). But the strong southerly flow following last week’s rains might have deposited some to seed a second local brood here even if early migrant numbers are low this season. Viceroy and Red-spotted Purple have emerged in the Carolinas and southern VA, so should be out here in a week or two. Meadow Fritillary is out in numbers in the Northeast so is probably also flying widely here, although so far only one local report has been made that I know of. This is a species that seems to me to have declined significantly over the past decade.
Spicebush and Pipevine Swallowtails should be showing up in numbers in the next week; Zebra Swallowtails are still going strong and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are being seen regularly. The later-emerging Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail is likely from now until the end of the month; see Jeff Pippen’s excellent discussion of the differences at http://www.jeffpippen.com/butterflies/appalachiantigerswallowtail.htm. The same is true of Appalachian Azure.
Sulphur sightings of any flavor are still rare, even of the usually ubiquitous Orange Sulphur.
Across the Eastern Shore and even around DC and Northern Virginia we might see our first Little Wood Satyrs of the year this weekend. And this is the first field season since the publication of the description of the new cryptic species known as Intricate Satyr; its northward range beyond the Carolinas isn’t known so it would be helpful to review the papers (they’re on LepLog) and look closely at MD satyrs for anything suspicious, especially on the Eastern Shore. Carolina Satyrs could be flying soon in Charles Co. MD at their known location in Purse State Park and elsewhere.
If you’re in the field in the Pine Barrens this weekend, look for me trying to track down Hoary Elfin and Hessel’s Hairstreak! Otherwise, feel free to follow sightings and information on the LepLog at https://leplog.wordpress.com or on MDLepsOdes on Google Groups.