Mid-Atlantic Field Lep Forecast for Weekend of 2014 July 19-20

No, not something from our area:  Just a teaser from my Spokane trip.  Blue Copper [2014 July 15, WA Mt Spokane SP.  REB]

No, not something from our area: Just a teaser from my Spokane trip. Plebejus idas atrapraetextus, one of the idas-complex Northern Blues [2014 July 15, WA Mt Spokane SP. REB]

Even though I’ve spent this past week in Spokane WA on a combination of conference-going and looking for leps and odes in the nearby mountains, faithful folk have been sending in sightings and picked up a couple of new things. Plus Beth Johnson and I did a marathon 20-hour scout of Garrett Co. Sunday in advance of my ANS field trip this coming weekend that yielded some nice results.

There were several reports of Diana Fritillaries flying in VA this week, so now is the time to go looking for them on backcountry dirt roads. Closer to home, many frits are on the wing in western MD: Meadow, Atlantis, Aphrodite, Great-spangled and even a few Silver-bordered. Milkweed and dogbane are reaching their peak bloom this week in Garrett Co MD. At Cranesville Swamp MD/WV, good numbers of Appalachian Browns were flying in and around the evergreens in the meadows along Muddy Creek Road, and the milkweed there held at least one Striped Hairstreak. Coral Hairstreaks were reported from the nearby Cunningham WMA, and multiple Gray Commas were seen in Savage River State Forest along Big Run Road and elsewhere. Long Dash and Black Dash are also flying in Garrett Co.

Tremendous numbers of Northern Metalmarks were out in Green Ridge State Forest, almost all of them on woodland sunflower growing above round-leaved ragwort along shale road shoulders in the Sideling Hill Creek drainage. Bog Coppers were relatively abundant along the Cranesville boardwalk (all on the WV side for you MD listers).

Fresh Eastern Tiger Swallowtails were also flying in Green Ridge, plus Zebra Swallowtails, but little else. Should be time, however, for second brood of Giant Swallowtail there. Black Swallowtails are flying everywhere from the coast to the mountains. Of interest are a few scattered reports of Zebra Swallowtails well up into New England, puzzling local lepidopterists.

Here in the DC area, Sachem numbers continue to build as females begin to emerge to complement the males that came out last week. Sightings of Fiery Skipper edge a little closer to DC each week from NC and VA. Freshly emerged Wild Indigo Duskywing and Horace’s Duskywing were reported in numerous locations across the region. Essex (European) Skippers are showing a lot of wear.

No Little Yellows have been reported yet anywhere in the mid-Atlantic from NC north. However, Sleepy Orange has been sighted well up into NC, although Cloudless Sulphur is still AWOL in our area. That other regular southern migrant, Common Buckeye, is being reported sporadically at various locations, though nowhere in any numbers. Viceroy is still flying, as are Red-spotted Purples, but their numbers are low. Both emperors, Tawny and Hackberry, are abroad this week. Monarchs are seen widely across the region but seldom in more than single-digit numbers.

Hairstreak numbers are way down, although second brood Great Purple Hairstreak is probably flying on the Eastern Shore. Nobody has reported King’s Hairstreak, and its flight is probably winding down. A fresh brood of White M is imminent.

The Heinz NWR annual count in Tinicum PA is the 19th (rain date the 20th); contact is Cliff Hence; cwhenceiii@aol.com.

I’m back in Garrett Co MD this weekend leading an Audubon Naturalist Society field trip.  Maybe we’ll cross paths!  If not, 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.


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