Weekend Field Lep Forecast for 2015 April 25-26

Mass puddle parties of mixed duskywings are a common sight in the mountains this week [2015 APR 18, Alleghany Co VA, photo by REB]

Mass puddle parties of mixed duskywings are a common sight in the mountains this week [2015 APR 18, Alleghany Co VA, photo by REB]

Despite a few rocky weather days and a return to cool weather, FOY species were reported throughout the region over the past week, and this weekend should see most of the typical spring species out between showers.

All the expected local swallowtails except Giant Swallowtail have been reported, and it’s still early for Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail in the western provinces. While tiger swallowtails were abundant on a foray into south-central Virginia last weekend, they were all small, early-spring variants of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

Clouded and Orange Sulphurs have been flying for a few weeks now, and even Sleepy Orange made an appearance at North Patuxent Research Refuge. Of the local elfins (Henry’s, Brown, and Eastern Pine), all have been reported; Henry’s Elfin in particular was in double-digit numbers in several locations. Brown Elfins have been much harder to come by, especially in their known locations in Frederick Watershed Forest, but were finally observed late this week in their traditional haunts there.

Of the nymphalids, American Ladies were seen in several locations, some ovipositing on blooming pussytoes. Singleton Red Admirals have been observed, likely brought north on strong southerly winds and presaging a good first local hatch in a month or so. Mourning Cloaks have already started to decline in numbers at lower elevations, although Eastern Commas are still pretty common. Question Mark has been uncommon so far this spring. By contrast, a surprise early Monarch showed up on Roosevelt Island in the District!  Pearl Crescents should be next up.

The azure complex has gotten more complex over the last week, now that Spring Azure is flying alongside “spring” Summer Azure. Presumably, Holly Azure is also flying on the Coastal Plain. We’re still a couple of weeks out from Appalachian AzureEastern Tailed-blue is now out, complementing the peak flight of Silvery Blue in the mountains.

Non-spreadwing skippers made an appearance this week, Appalachian Grizzled Skippers in the mountains of Virginia and Silver-Spotted Skippers in several locations nearer DC. And for spreadwings, Juvenal’s and Horace’s Duskywing numbers are building, Dreamy and Sleepy are at peak flight in the mountains, and the first Wild Indigo Duskywings will probably be seen this week.

Both White M and Gray Hairstreaks were reported this week; the first Juniper Hairstreaks were seen as well.  Red-banded Hairstreak should also be flying — I had it just today in TN — but the rainy forecast suggests it will be a long shot to see one this weekend. If you do spot one, 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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