Last week saw the first real flush of grass skippers in the mid-Atlantic area, with Zabulon Skipper flying on the Coastal Plain and Piedmont and its northern-clime replacement Hobomok Skipper flying in the mountains. Scattered Sachem reports were trickling in, and Peck’s Skipper was picked up in a Silver Spring yard as well as in several other locations. Silver-spotted Skipper is now in flight all through the area. Common Roadside-skipper was noted in multiple reports, and Green Ridge State Forest had lingering Dreamy and Sleepy Duskywings, and fading Juvenal’s Duskywings and a couple of possible Horace’s that did not cooperate by showing their ventral sides. Hoary Edge and Gold-banded Skipper were reported from VA and NC. Indian Skipper is likely to be on the wing in Frederick Watershed Forest. Least Skipper reports should start coming in this weekend, as well. Dun Skipper is abroad in NC. Cobweb Skippers are still flying; no reports of the usual spring brood of Dusted Skipper in the same haunts, however. Cloudywings (possibly both Northern Cloudywing and Southern Cloudywing) were observed in Green Ridge State Forest.
Swallowtails were all on the wing, including Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail and more northerly reports of Giant Swallowtail. Palamedes is flying in strongly in the Great Dismal Swamp and other southern locales, where its Red Bay hostplant grows. Black Swallowtails were numerous north of the mid-Atlantic and sporadically reported here. Zebra Swallowtail spring brood is looking pretty ragged.
Satyrs started popping up this week too, with most of the woodland satyrs reported from VA southward. No reports from Maryland northward of Little Wood Satyr or Carolina Satyr, or of Pearly-eyes or Appalachian Browns, but all should be looked for in the field this Memorial Day.
Other nymphalids first reported this week included Red-spotted Purple in VA and Tawny Emperor in VA and NC. Viceroy should be flying now as well. There have been very few local reports of Meadow Fritillary so far this spring, but it is undoubtedly on the wing. Great-spangled Fritillary is flying in NC. Silvery Checkerspot is on the wing in a strong flight in VA, suggesting we may see a repeat of last season’s huge flight. Isolated reports of American Snout keep coming in from various locations, but no strong migratory push. American Lady continues in good numbers across the region, but no reports this week of Red Admiral or Painted Lady. No adult Mourning Cloak observations came in from the local area, and numbers of anglewings are way down. Pearl Crescent is out in good numbers everywhere in the region.
Despite the apocalyptic predictions for this year’s flight, Monarch reports are well ahead of last year, with reports from various locations in the mid-Atlantic and well up into the Northeast.
New hairstreaks and blues were on the wing last week, too, including Red-banded and increasing numbers of Gray Hairstreaks. We’re between broods of azures locally, with “Summer” Summer Azure expected to emerge shortly. In the NJ Pine Barrens, Holly Azure is flying and the Northern Azure variant, Blueberry Azure, is just finishing up. Appalachian Azure is well into its flight in mature moist forest where Black Cohosh is found. Eastern Tailed-blue is building to abundant status. Hessel’s Hairstreak is probably at peak in the Pine Barrens, with fresh specimens seen last Sunday. Juniper (Olive) Hairstreak continues to be seen, while all Elfins are dwindling: work Eastern Pine Elfin and Brown Elfin were observed in the Barrens over the weekend, as was a continuing strong flight (although past peak) of Hoary Elfin. In the mountains of MD and WV, Silvery Blue is still pretty fresh.
I’m hoping to visit Garrett Co MD this holiday weekend; here’s hoping to run into you in the field there or elsewhere; the weather looks fantastic for lepping. And don’t forget to post or send your sightings for the next Weekend Forecast! In the meantime, visit us at https://leplog.wordpress.com/ and on Google Groups at MDLepsOdes.