Mid-Atlantic Field Lep Forecast for the Weekend of 2014 Sept. 6-7

Monarch on Tithonia Flower [2014 Sept. 1, US National Arboretum, DC.  REB]

Monarch on Tithonia Flower [2014 Sept. 1, US National Arboretum, DC. REB]

While overall numbers of many butterflies are declining as the summer draws to a close, diversity is still pretty high even though there are no regional FOYs to report this week.

We had hoped to report in this Forecast that Leonard’s Skipper was flying at Soldier’s Delight and had been seen on Dick Smith’s field trip there last week. Unfortunately, the participants dipped on this iconic species of serpentine barrens. I hope to bring better news next week; I plan to visit Soldier’s Delight myself this weekend, and expect the flight was only delayed and the skipper is flying this weekend.

Otherwise, the Forecast this week really hasn’t changed much from the previous few weeks. Good numbers of most grass skippers, especially Sachem which was especially abundant across the region, and the occasional Fiery Skipper or Ocola Skipper. Tiger Swallowtails have mostly faded away, as have Zebra Swallowtails.  Fresh Pipevine and Black Swallowtails are out, however.  The big news continues to be a huge explosion of Giant Swallowtails in the Northeast and, over the past two weeks, in PA, where more than 50 sightings have been logged from the current brood.

Monarch numbers continue to build slowly, a further testament to the resiliency of this species, at least here on the East Coast.  In fact, the Loudon County VA count last month logged more than 60; I have seen them on literally every field excursion I have made for the past 6 weeks anywhere in MD or DE. Not to throw a wet blanket on the “Save the Monarch” movement but these are not the population dynamics of a threatened or endangered species — at least here in the East.

Overall, the Loudon count had 55 species — near its historic high count — and more than 3,000 individual butterflies. Again, the gloom and doom of early summer predictions of butterfly crashes have not been borne out by field observations later in the year.

Here’s hoping to run into you in the field this weekend, looking for a stray Great Southern White, or Whirlabout, or Queen. If you see one, 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.


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One Response to Mid-Atlantic Field Lep Forecast for the Weekend of 2014 Sept. 6-7

  1. I’ve been in the field, at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern PA, on Sept. 3, 4, 5 and today, the 7th. on 9/5 saw 10 Monarchs, almost all looking fresh. Other sightings were meadow frits, a fresh flight of red admirals, a totally fresh, radiant painted lady, good numbers of american coppers, 3 viceroys on 9/5. Swallowtails were all worn, ETB’s worn, a fresh flight of eastern commas, lots of northern pearly eyes looking fine, and a very mysterious anglewing, looking like it was lots of miles south of where you’d expect it to be. I put alot of effort into searching for Leonard’s skippers where I’ve seen one before, but no such luck.

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