On the Audubon Naturalist Society field trip to western Maryland last weekend, we had great success in finding two of our targets, Bog Copper at Cranesville Swamp and Northern Metalmarks (in good numbers) in Green Ridge State Forest. Both were quite cooperative with the 15 participants in the extended field trip and allowed for good views and some excellent photographs. Both of these beautiful leps should be flying for at least another week; some of the metalmarks especially were quite fresh.
Lots of satyrs were on the wing for us, too – Appalachian Brown was abundant, as was Common Wood-nymph (in its dark, northern/western form). Northern Pearly-eye was also seen. Farther north in Buzzard Swamp PA colleagues reported an Eyed Brown. The second brood of Little Wood-satyr seems to be sputtering locally.
At least four fritillaries are flying now: Great-spangled (some fresh), Aphrodite, Atlantis, and Meadow. Five, if you count Variegated Fritillary, which has been seen sporadically but whose numbers seem to be building in mid-VA. Diana Fritillary of both sexes was picked up in Bath Co VA. Other brushfoot butterflies around this week included Red Admiral, both Hackberry and Tawny Emperors, and infrequent American Ladies. Red-spotted Purples were much more common than earlier in the season; a few Viceroys are being seen but clearly a small flight. Mourning Cloak and other anglewings are scarce but around; mostly they are still aestivating until cooler fall weather. Monarch numbers seem to be climbing slowly but steadily; I saw several this morning on the National Mall.
Across the region, a fresh brood of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails began to show up in the past week, but it appears this will be a small flight. Second brood of Zebra Swallowtails, which was pretty robust, is winding down. A number of reports came in this week of fresh Spicebush, Black, and Pipevine Swallowtails. No reports yet this year of Palamedes Swallowtail from Maryland, but was seen on the Eastern Shore of VA last week.
Fresh skippers were out this week too – Sachem numbers are building, and there are more Wild Indigo and Horace’s Duskywings. There’s a large flight of Silver-spotted Skipper emerging now. Essex (European) Skipper seems to be ending its summer flight. Brazilian Skippers were noted from vacation areas in Dare Co NC and from as close as Norfolk; we should be regularly checking sizeable plantings of cannas for these large and showy skippers.
Other skippers this week include Dion, Delaware, and Rare; Salt-marsh should also be flying on the Eastern Shore. Fiery and Whirlabout Skippers were again seen in Virginia; Ocola Skipper seems to be making an early assay to the north already with sightings in NC and VA. Black Dash and Long Dash are flying in the western MD counties; Black Dash is especially common this year.
I noted last week that no Little Yellows had been seen this year, which of course prompted a couple of reports from recent NABA counts where they HAD been seen, in PA on the Hawk Mountain count and in VA in Botetourt Co. Sleepy Orange is being seen in NC.
Hairstreaks are still in a downturn, although the best sighting of the week had to have been a second brood Early Hairstreak in the Ricketts Glen area of PA.
Dicey weather this weekend, especially Sunday, but there should be some sun to draw out butterflies. 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.