Mid-Atlantic Weekend Lep Field Forecast for 2014 June 28-29

American Snout at Bayview Butterfly Garden, Eastern Neck NWR, Kent Co MD [REB 2014 June 20]

American Snout at Bayview Butterfly Garden, Eastern Neck NWR, Kent Co MD [REB 2014 June 20]

The univoltine summer hairstreaks are beginning their flights, with Edwards’ Hairstreak reported this week from its traditional location in the Frederick Municipal Watershed (MD). King’s Hairstreak has been flying for two weeks already in the Carolinas and VA, and the July 4 weekend is the traditional time to try to find this very local species on MDs lower Eastern Shore wherever its host plant —  sweetleaf, also known as horse sugar — can be found along wet ditches and in woods on the fringes of swamps and marshes. If you miss them this year, a good tactic is to stake out the trees when they bloom in early April and return now to find the adults perched on broad leaves in patches of sun. They are inordinately partial to greenbrier tangles. King’s flies at eye level early in the day before retreating up into the shady canopy, often by 9:30 am.

Banded Hairstreaks have been reported regularly across the area, but in much smaller numbers than last year. I have not received any reports of Striped Hairstreak, and few reports of Coral. One of the best bets for Coral Hairstreak is the butterfly weed on the public Regal Fritillary tours at Ft. Indiantown Gap PA, scheduled over the next two weeks. Reports are there is a good Regal flight at FIG this year.

Great-spangled Fritillary is also having a good flight and can be found almost statewide on common milkweed, which also is hosting plentiful numbers of grass skippers. Mostly AWOL so far this summer in these milkweed conventions is Sachem, which had a weak early flight and appears to be between broods now. Flights of Indian Skipper and Hobomok are winding down. Zabulon has not been as common as it is most years, although it has been expanding its range northward considerably — it was reported for the first time last week in Buzzard Swamp in NW PA near the NY border. Essex (European) Skippers are abundant this season and seem to be slowly making their way eastward and southward; they were noted in Loudon Co VA last weekend.  .

A fresh flight of American Coppers is out, but Bronze Coppers were not reported in our area for their late spring flight nor have they been reported more recently. Even Eastern Tailed-blues are making a rather poor showing this season.

Appalachian Brown finally made an appearance locally, and there were a few more scattered reports of Northern Pearly-eye, which seems to have made a host-plant jump in some populations to the noxious, invasive Japanese stilt-grass. Fresh Tawny Emperor was out in Kent Co MD this week, flying with fellow hackberry specialist American Snout; Hackberry Emperor was more widely reported. Silvery Checkerspot had a small early flight that is about over; reports this week were mostly of worn and ragged individuals. Monarchs continue to be infrequently but regularly reported.

There’s been an interesting conversation between veteran field observers Dick Smith and Bob Ringler online the past couple days that is worth noting. Early July seems to be the best time to see Compton Tortoiseshell in Maryland. It has been recorded a couple times in the past two decades at midsummer, most frequently from the Sideling Hill Creek watershed of Green Ridge State Forest and especially along vertigo-inducing Cliff Road.  Something to look for when you go out there for Northern Metalmarks in July.

On a somewhat more far-flung note, Tom Stock and I were both hosted royally by PALepsOdes colleagues Monica Miller and Curt Lehman for two days in PAs Buzzard Swamp, where Indian Skipper and Hobomok are still flying strong but Harris Checkerspot is winding down.  We also had local specialties White Admiral, Arctic Skipper, Pepper-and-Salt Skipper, Common Ringlet and Silver-bordered Fritillary (Atlantis was also flying), plus a lifer for both of us, Two-spotted Skipper.

Please considering joining your fellow lep observers on Saturday’s NABA count for western Montgomery Co MD. Info on this and other regional counts (several over the 4th of July weekend) can always be found on the LepLog calendar at https://leplog.wordpress.com/2012-season-mid-atlantic-count-and-field-trip-calendar/

Hope to see you in the field this weekend; weather looks pretty decent despite the lingering chance of afternoon showers both days according to the most recent forecast. Please remember 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.

[NOTE:  After posting, I heard from a correspondent near Pittsburgh that he had in fact observed Striped Hairstreak this past week, so we know they are flying]

This entry was posted in Field Trips/Annual Counts, general butterfly news, sightings. Bookmark the permalink.

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