Mid-Atlantic Field Lep Forecast for Weekend of 2014 Aug. 16-17

Salt-marsh Skipper on goldenrod at Bombay Hook NWR DE [2014 Aug. 9, photo by Beth Johnson]

Salt-marsh Skipper on goldenrod at Bombay Hook NWR DE [2014 Aug. 9, photo by Beth Johnson]

The summer broods are winding down in the mid-Atlantic, but migrant and local fall skippers are beginning to pick up. In fact, the last week or so has seen some normalcy return to both diversity and numbers for local leps.

DuskywingsHorace’s and Wild Indigo – are well out in fresh broods now, and a number of the grass skippers are also flying in good numbers. Sachem remains in relatively short supply, but Peck’s and Zabulon continue to build. Fiery Skipper is reported from numerous locations, as is Southern Broken-dash. The southerly winds of the past week haven’t brought much our way, but the cold front that arrived last night and some persistent north winds over the weekend could bring us Brazilian Skipper (showing up well into Virginia, and spottily in NJ), Ocola Skipper (many locations in VA), and other southern specialties. No reports anywhere in the mid-Atlantic yet of Long-tailed Skipper, but it should be looked for over the next month or so, especially on zinnia and lantana. Silver-spotted Skipper is having a banner late-summer flight. Hayhurst’s Scallopwing and Common Sootywing are in the air now.

Cloudless Sulphur is beginning to make appearances locally with three at Bombay Hook NWR last weekend. Salt-marsh Skipper and Broad-winged Skipper were also observed there, as were more than 100 Monarchs, most in mint condition so likely recent local emergences. I’m suspecting we’ll have a pretty decent fall migration of Monarchs along the coast this year.

No new Giant Swallowtail reports locally this week, but in the Northeast – especially CT – there’s been another explosion of Giants over the past two weeks.

While the great fritillary species are declining for the season, there’s been a good upward spike of Variegated Fritillary at several local areas. Gulf Fritillary has not made much of an appearance in the Carolinas or VA yet.

Among the hairstreaks, only Red-banded and Gray were reported locally this week, with White M and Juniper Hairstreak on the South Jersey Butterfly B/Log. While no Bronze Coppers have been reported recently in MD or DE, there were fresh ones flying in NJ. American Copper has shown up on a number of field expeditions this week.

Both Ladies American and Painted – have been hard to come by this week, as they have been all season. Low counts of Buckeyes continue to trickle in.

Local counts this weekend include the Howard County Ode Count on Saturday (contact Beth Johnson, coordinator, at bajohnsonjohnson@verizon.net or 301-949-6338) and the annual DC NABA Count on Sunday at the US National Arboretum (contact Tom Stock, coordinator, at altomomatic@verizon.net).

Looks like a superb Saturday and most of Sunday from the weekend forecast, so I’m hoping for good reports next week. 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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3 Responses to Mid-Atlantic Field Lep Forecast for Weekend of 2014 Aug. 16-17

  1. Judy Eisenberg says:

    I live in Frederick Co. MD and 2 days ago my Anise Hyssop attracted a Swallowtail not familiar to me. I took some good photos and then looked it up. I feel pretty certain it is the Palamedes Swallowtail. Is that a rare sighting?

    • Rick says:

      Not just rare but almost impossible in Frederick Co, a good 100 miles from the nearest plant it could have used for food and 300 miles from a decent-sized population. These are swallowtails of the deep south, where they feed on Red Bay in hardwood swamps. Happy to look at the photos if you wish to share them.

    • Rick says:

      Given it was paying attention to your Anise Hyssop, it was probably looking to lay eggs (few swallowtails actually get much out of the small flowers), which would make me lean toward one of the Black Swallowtail (polyxenes) group. They have varying amounts of black/yellow, but NEVER have the yellow racing stripe on the underside of the
      wings near the body that you see in this Pinterest shot of Palamedes:

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